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Angus Peter Campbell

The Night Before We SailedAn Oidhche Mus Do Sheol Sinn: The Night... Before We Sailed. This novel is remarkable in a number of ways - in its extensive detail, its depth of language and the way in which it manages to incorporate a richness of perspective and philosophy, with an international outlook. The novel is rich with history, language, sights and sounds. As with all good fiction, it functions at different levels. On the surface, the story follows a young boy Eoin Domhnallach, from South Uist whom we first meet on page 1 as he crouches by the edge of the loch deciding whether or not to throw the stone-skiffler he's holding in his hand. It is 1913 and his two older brothers are down on the machair already deciding to throw their dice and head for the trenches. The novel then follows the varying fortunes of this extended family from that moment right up to a moment 100 years on, in 2013, when a young girl from South Uist, Raonaid MacInnes is crouching by the same loch, holding a skiffler, wondering whether to fling or hold. The underlying surface of the novel concerns itself with the things which impinge upon our decisions to fling the stone - whether that be the stone of marriage or celibacy, of war or peace, of hatred or forgiveness. And once the stone is thrown, sometimes foolishly, and it sinks without trace instead of skipping beautifully across the loch, how do you redeem the lost moment, the lost opportunity? What can atone for the Somme or indeed the Twin Towers?

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