A Snowball in Summer
The poems in A Snowball in Summer evoke Lorn Macintyre’s
childhood at Dunstaffnage House, Connel, and Taynuilt, Argyll, when fields
were still ploughed by horses, where his grandfather, a champion fly
fisherman, cast over pools plentiful with salmon, and where the computer
had not yet enticed the young indoors from traditional outdoor pastimes.
The poet celebrates the Macintyre presence in Glen Noe, the title A
Snowball in Summer referring to part of the rent the clan had to
pay for their tenancy of the cherished glen beneath Ben Cruachan. In
the poet’s adolescence the family moved to Tobermory on the island
of Mull where his father Angus, legendary bank manager, poet and raconteur, was
obsessed with a Gaelic culture that was failing. The third phase of Lorn
Macintyre’s life covered by this collection is his time spent in
Glasgow, where he had the harrowing task of looking after his mother
and watching her decline into dementia, a tragedy he documents with painful
honesty and insight in the long poem in A Snowball in Summer.
Poems on global warming show his concern for the drastic changes to our
environment, the respect for which was instilled in him as a child.
Click here to view a poem from the book>>
To order A Snowball in Summer (73 pages, paperback) please
click visit Argyll
The Chronicles of Invernevis
THE BROKEN LYRE is the
fourth novel in Lorn Macintyre's Chronicles of Invernevis,
one of the most ambitious cycles of fiction in modern Scottish literature,
charting the fortunes of a Highland aristocratic family from 1900 to
2000. In THE BROKEN LYRE the story of the Macdonalds
of Invernevis is taken up to the 1960s. International in scope, the novel
opens in 1938 at Bernstein in Austria, the schloss of the Almasys, a
family made famous by the portrayal of Laszlo Almasy in Michael Ondaatje's
acclaimed novel The English Patient, and by
the film of the same title starring Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas.
In The Broken Lyre the focus is on the friendship between Niall
Macdonald, soon to become Laird of Invernevis, and Count Janos Almasy, just as
complex and charismatic a character as his brother Laszlo. In the pre-war days
of leisure and indulgence al Bernstein, where Unity Mitford, who also features
in this novel, was a Hitler-worshipping guest, Niall Macdonald meets Amélie,
a beautiful French countess, and follows her to Paris. There a tempestuous affaire ensues.
The two lovers become involved in the Second World War as secret agents operating
in France, and Niall (a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, and a fluent linguist) is
directed by his spy-master in London to assist with the Maquis resistance operations
against the Germans in the Haute-Savoie - where soon he must face a terrible
life-or-death dilemma concerning Amélie.
THE BROKEN LYRE also features Unity Mitford’s last tragic days
on the island of Inchkenneth in the Hebrides until her death in March 1948 from
her self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in the English Garden, Munich, on
the morning that war broke out in 1939.
Publication date of THE BROKEN LYRE is February 2008. To order
a copy, contact Black
Ace Books, P.O. Box 7547, Perth PH2 1AU. Tel: 01821
642822. Fax: 01821 642101.
Cruel in the Shadow (1979), Collins and St Martin’s
Press, New York.
The Blind Bend (1981), Collins and St Martin’s Press,
Empty Footsteps (1996), Black
The Broken Lyre (Feb 2008), Black
Macintyre effectively deconstructs the pretensions and vain-glory of the
great landed Catholic family of Macdonalds as their lairds exploit and
condescend, abrogating to themselves a divinely-given right to what pleases
them among their people. These are well-researched period pictures… and
the more effective because Macintyre has an attitude towards his subjects
which combines love as well as hate, regret for their inevitable anachronism...”
Literature, ed. Douglas Gifford, Sarah Dunnigan and Alan MacGillivray (Edinburgh
University Press, 2002).
From Port Vendres (1992),
obtainable from Priormuir
In 1927 the Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh was in Port
Vendres, a village on the Mediterranean side of the Franco-Spanish border.
He remained in the modest Hotel du Commerce while his wife Margaret was
in London for medical treatment in May and June.
In 1914 a disillusioned and disturbed Mackintosh had quit Glasgow, having
resigned (probably by thankful mutual agreement) from his architectural
partnership with John Keppie. The war years in London yielded few commissions,
the zeppelin being the enemy of the architect, at least in the short
term. The two Mackintoshs turned to designing printed fabrics.
In 1923 they moved to Collioure in the French Pyrenees, and thence to
Port Vendres. Mackintosh devoted his time entirely to the creative medium
of watercolour, an interest since youth. But he had a formidable task
in front of him: the completion of about 50 paintings in order to ensure
an exhibition in London's Leicester Galleries.
Margaret’s necessary sojourn in London that summer of 1927 was
a setback to the painter slowed down by a childhood illness and the sweltering
climate. To console himself and keep her in touch with life at Port Vendres,
he wrote a series of letters to her. He called them his "Chronacle" (he
was a bad speller) because they sometimes ran on into several days. In
1967 the letters were deposited in the Hunterian Art Gallery at Glasgow
University, with the stipulation that they "are not to be published
in any way and are only to be made available for purposes of research."
Much of the factual information within this sonnet cycle has been drawn
from these letters. Lorn Macintyre is grateful to the Hunterian for permission
Margaret, remember that nightmare
in London during the hostilities?
A zeppelin drifting over Glasgow,
dropping its cargo on my Art School?
Trapped inside so much timber,
trying to reach the huge windows
with my ladderback chair, I woke screaming.
You caught me in your arms.
The blaze broke out again last night.
I went into your room. In the moonlight
your straw hat was lying on your bed.
I held it without crushing to my heart.
I hope yours is easier in the capital.
From Your Toshie, come home soon.
Sir David Russell: A Biography
This illuminating account of the life and work of Sir David Russell
(1872-1956) shows the famous Fife-born papermaker to be a cultured
a pioneer of New Age thinking. As a young partner in his father's
firm of Tullis Russell, Sir David's love of books and great ideas
seek broader connections. He developed an early interest in alternative
medicine, and in 1912 became president of the Leven Lodge of the
Shortly after, Sir David met the psychic Wellesley Tudor Pole, whose
Private Dowding, the personal story of a soldier killed in battle,
is considered to be a classic. The complementary qualities in the
between Tudor Pole and Russell led them to embark on a great 'quest'
of archaeological discovery in the eastern Mediterranean. Sir David
encouraged Tudor Pole's visionary belief that there were important
relics to be
found, and they eventually did uncover the site of the house of Justinian
in Istanbul, as well as magnificent mosaics.
Spirituality was a living concept to Sir David Russell, and this biography
tells of his role as instigator of the lona Retreat. He was also a
philanthropic and innovative businessman who took a keen personal interest
in his employees
and their well-being. When Sir David died in 1956, the Tullis Russell
mills in Markinch, Fife, employed a thousand people in a community-based
plant with almost a village atmosphere. The Russell Trust has continued
to finance excavations and scholarships throughout Scotland and the
Tobermory Days (2003),
from Argyll Publishing
An acclaimed collection of short stories based on the years Lorn
Macintyre spent in Tobermory, Mull, the Hebridean town where the
cult children’s series Balamory is located. The stories are based
round the activities of Archie MacLean, bank manager and Gaelic enthusiast,
and the loveable and eccentric characters he encounters in the course
of the day’s business in his office, where it is more important
to listen an old woman’s impeccable Gaelic, though she hasn’t
a penny in his bank, rather than spent the time arranging for an overdraft
for a pompous estate owner.
“ This marvellous new book recreates that place [Mull] and
is presented to us with compelling and exhilarating style.”
Highland Free Press.