I enjoyed Andrew Greig’s poetry reading at the GRV recently, indeed I’ve been reading his poetry for a long time, probably back to Men On Ice. I like his voice; it’s distinctive and original – nobody else writes like him. Anyway, after the reading I decided to read his new (prose) book, At the Loch of the Green Corrie, and I’ve just finished it. I found it hugely interesting and enjoyable, with several personal connections to some of the people, places and subjects he covers.
So what’s it about? The main thread that runs through it is a quest, laid upon him by Norman MacCaig a few months before he died, to go to the Green Corrie in Assynt, and to catch a fish for him. Now, I know nothing about fishing, have never fished, apart from childhood guddling for trout in the Bonaly Burn, but this isn’t a book about fishing. It’s about Andrew’s journey, with his friends, his past life and loves, his memories, into Assynt, the place where Norman lived his summers, and which he loved above all other places. Andrew clearly loves the place too, as do many others, and his reflections cover, not just the landscape, the geology and the history, but the people who lived – and still live – there.
Impossible to summarise then, but if I call it a book of reflections that will come close to what it’s about. It’s a wonderful piece of writing, with a prose style which is as clear and elegant as any Highland lochan.