Robin Jenkins: the short stories

Riach, A. (2017) Robin Jenkins: the short stories. In: Gifford, T. and Bicket, J. (eds.) The Fiction of Robin Jenkins: Some Kind of Grace. Series: SCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature (26). Brill | Rodopi: Leiden ; Boston, pp. 130-142. ISBN 9789004337046 (doi: 10.1163/9789004342491_009)

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Robin Jenkins’s short stories are collected in two books: A Far Cry from Bowmore (1973), set in the far east, in locations such as Malaysia, Afghanistan and Burma, and Lunderston Tales (1996), set in a small seaside town on the west coast of Scotland. This chapter begins by discussing ideas of distance and proximity in Jenkins’s writing, showing how stylistically he brings together apparently ‘objective’ prose describing events ‘externally’ with more insidious and sly representations of ‘subjective’ or ‘internally’-realised intimations of characters’ motives, prejudices and dispositions. This allows him to explore the relations of difference and continuity between appearance and the deeper currents informing the actions of his characters. The chapter goes through each of the stories in both books, and considers one further story published independently, chronologically between each of the books’ publication dates. The developing argument centres on the relation between ‘realism’ and the sense Jenkins’s writing delivers that realism is not all there is. The unexpected twists in the narratives, the moral ambiguities and unreliable co-ordinate points experienced by many of the characters, the recurrence the inexplicable, make Jenkins’s writing uniquely challenging and compelling in modern Scottish literature, and nowhere more evidently than in his short stories.

Item Type:Book Sections
Keywords:Short stories, realism, irony, satire, morality.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Riach, Professor Alan
Authors: Riach, A.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
Publisher:Brill | Rodopi
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Koninklijke Brill NV
First Published:First published in The Fiction of Robin Jenkins: Some Kind of Grace: 130-142
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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