Military jets exercise over Loch Eye as a seer struggles to remember the content of his vision; the honeymoon is over for workers down at the Nigg yard, and an English incomer leads the fight for independence both for Scotland and for herself ... This debut collection of short stories from a gifted writer provides an original perspective on the Highlands, subtly addressing the unique combination of old and new influences that operate in the region today.
Praise for Highland Views
'A fine organic collection – one that advances a viewpoint, culture and history quite other than the urban central belt that still lopsidedly dominates recent Scottish literature.' Andrew Greig
'A view of the Highlands with a strong element of political and social comment. David Ross explores these concerns in convincingly human terms through the lives of his characters.' Brian McCabe
'An authentic and unsentimental aspect on Highland life. The characters are real, the prose is lyrical and the stories compelling.' The Scots Magazine
About David Ross
David Ross took a degree at Edinburgh University and then stayed on in the capital for another fifteen years, working at a variety of jobs ranging from lecturer to dish-washer. He wrote two draft novels and ran a Creative Writing workshop for Theatre Workshop as well as playing and song-writing in several bands, including Poetry Roadshow, a words/music fusion of performance poets and musicians. Returning to his home town of Tain, he began writing his short story collection Highland Views (published by Two Ravens Press) and now works as a guitar, composition and recording tutor.
An extract from Highland Views
She used to hear a distant pibroch sound on the breeze those autumn evenings, back in that year when the child was still newly formed inside her. And when her husband was away at sea, she’d often climb the low summit of the hill and sit awhile, listening to that sad and lonely music, even if it was no more than some trick of the wind.
After darkness had returned to the land, only Inverness, tinsel-lit, would remain in view to remind her that she lived in the lengthening shadow of the twentieth century. Strings of white and orange lights would glint like electric dewdrops on an unseen web suspended between the gentle inland slopes and the foreshore, where two last shimmering tentacles of light, separated by the invisible Ness, snaked into the blackness of the firth. Invisible also was the hospital which required her to make such frequent visits. But to the west she could clearly see the single beacon of light that marked entry to the Caledonian Canal, while, to the east, temporary floodlights played on the foundations of the bridge that would eventually link the highland capital to their side of the water.
The completion of the bridge would cut her husband’s travelling time back and forth to Aberdeen, the main base for his off-shore assignments, and he was all in favour of that. But for her own part, she would miss her solitary walks into North Kessock, timed to allow her an unhurried cup of tea before the arrival of the ferryboat from Inverness. And she would miss that brief sea journey across the narrow neck of firth, inhaling the salt breeze before she made her way through the traffic fumes of the town to the hospital.
Strange how her first recollections from that period were always of the times she’d spent alone. For in the deep quiet of her being her husband had been ever present, whether at his work of inspecting the platforms, or at home with her, forever finding new jobs that needed doing round the house before the baby arrived. Even those memorable trips across the water on her own had been very much the exception. Far more often they’d visited the hospital together, and it was together they’d driven the long road round by Beauly the day the consultant decided to break the news to them. They said yes, they would like to see the x-rays for themselves, and yes, they would let him know their decision by the end of the week. And yes, oh yes, there had only been one decision possible, for what kind of life could such a creature ever have had?
And so it was a sad Christmas that year, leaving her still weak as a kitten after the operation. There were complications, so they’d been told before she left the hospital, and they’d been strongly advised not to try again.
Though her husband seemed swift to embrace the sorrow as if it was some forgotten friend from long ago, it constantly stood across her own path that winter, like some malevolent stranger whose challenge she was not yet strong enough to meet. No longer could she summon up the energy to climb the hill, and only once did she hear the phantom music trudge slowly towards the house before it got lost in the silence of the drifting snow …