SCOTTISH LOST BOYS
TEN RENEGADE ESSAYS
"This is the essay form infused with flame and dream. With Arielish deftness and in bewitching language, Kirsten Norrie leads us among the ghosts of a Scottish multiverse of songlines, slander, catwalks and curses. She is an inspired advocate for James Macpherson, the critically misunderstood, and drapes Jim Morrison in the talking winds of the Highlands, relighting his famous lyrics via transdimensional séance. These are screeds from a Scotland vast as imagination and infinitely influential. Here the lost, the scalped and the self-slain are vaunted, re-met and revivified. Here the veil between the spirit-world and our own is shown up for nothing, perhaps, but a trick of slanted light." - Damian Le Bas, author of 'The Stopping Places', Chatto & Windus, 2018.
Broken Sleep Books, November 2024
The imaginative flights, artistic struggles, and untimely deaths of some brilliant Scots, from Sir Walter Scott to Alexander McQueen. In grunge and tartan, sideshow and magic lantern, Scottish Lost Boys presents Scotland as place and Scotland as idea in the imaginative flights, artistic struggles, and untimely deaths of a singular skeleton leaf clan.
Clan mythologists James McPherson and the Sobieski Stuart brothers; childhood scalping survivor Robert McGee; fashion suicide Alexander McQueen; wolf-hunter Ernest Thompson Seton; film actor Jon Whiteley and director Bill Douglas and fantasy novelist George MacDonald: all these brilliant boys, wrapped in tartans of the imagination, encountered lostness as a betrayal of self or misguided acts of misadventure that fuelled their art and identities.
These Scottish Lost Boys are Wild West protagonists, 1700s literary stars, shadow skin cutters, and cinematic murderers, all interwoven with J. M. Barrie's themes of lostness, immortality, and myth within a Scottish context - the afterlife of fairy, skin, and shadow.
'Norrie is a visionary writer, who - in the words of one of her lost boys, the artist and wolf-hunter Ernest Thompson Seton - can “piece together the little scraps of truth like gold raked out of garbage bins”. This book draws the reader on an intrepid dance through human history, the dark subject-matter illuminated by an imagination ablaze.' - Nancy Campbell, author of 'The Library of Ice', Simon & Schuster, 2018.
'A vital demonstration of how border raids on submerged history can bring back valuable new truths in language that strikes and sings. Fires on all cylinders.' - Iain Sinclair.