Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This review is taken from PN Review 62, Volume 14 Number 6, July - August 1988.

IN CONTEXT Stuart Hood, A Storm from Paradise (Carcanet) £9.95; The Upper Hand (Carcanet) £10.95

It is the detail, lovingly observed and sharply delineated, which will perhaps first strike the reader of A Storm from Paradise: the rolling haunches of a coach-horse, a scullery sink full of cold brown trout, the speckled eggs of a moorhen in an island nest. Stuart Hood's concern is not, however, with such detail alone, but with the place it occupies in a complex and densely woven fabric; as his narrator proceeds to define the landscape and the society in which he grew up, these intimate perceptions are subsumed in a wider historical perspective, one which accommodates 'the strange hooded riders of the Pictish kingdom' and the incursive Roman galleys as readily as it does the modern grouse-shooters strung out across the heather-clad slopes. Subtly but forcefully, Hood drives home the point that each item, each incident, is defined and perpetually redefined by a context from which it cannot be dissociated. The bawdy folk-ballad which the narrator's father sings softly as he runs his fingers over his mistress's body is explicitly located within a historical process which disseminates it, in the course of two subsequent world wars, through the troopships, canteens and brothels of an age very different from that in which it originated; while a recollection of childhood delight centred on the bright and aromatic vegetation of the village mill-leat is radically qualified by the expanding perspectives of a passage which first establishes the dependence of this specific habitat on an industrial framework now significantly changed, and then ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image