November 12, 2011 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
In addition to the Amazon reviews – which have been blessedly and overwhelmingly positive – I have had two reviews in print: The Big Issue gave the book four stars in August, and only today I bought the new edition of The Scottish Review of Books. (I say ‘bought’ because it came with the Saturday Herald. I must admit that I do not normally read the Herald.)
I’m thrilled to say that the review is positive. There are no star ratings, which is fine by me – I’ve spent enough Augusts reviewing Fringe events to hate the sight of ’em – and words like ‘original’ and ‘excellent’ and ‘compelling’ are always wonderful to hear. And of course the SRB is highly respected, and thus I am grateful for my novel being mentioned positively to the readership. (If anyone has found this blog because of the review: hello! You can buy the book here.)
There is one thing I find odd. It has nothing to do with my review or even the SRB itself. It’s the ad on the back cover for four poetry collections published by Polygon, a publisher I like very much and with whom I would be very happy to work someday. Here are the collections:
– These Islands, We Sing: An Anthology of Scottish Islands Poetry
– Sorley MacLean: Collected Poems
– The Poems of Norman MacCaig
– A Choosing: Selected Poems of Liz Lochhead
The island anthology has cover art which depicts an island – one assumes a Scottish island, given the subject matter. The MacLean and MacCaig collections have black-and-white photographs of the poets themselves, both looking thoughtfully out at the reader – MacLean seems a bit astonished, while MacCaig is clearly going to take a deep drag on that lit cigarette in his hand.
And the Lochhead? A full-length drawing of a woman who is removing her clothes. She’s wearing black knickers and a bra, and she’s just pulling her dress (?) over her head, so her face is half-covered.
(None of Lochhead’s other books with Polygon have her photograph on the cover, either. Mostly it’s just words.)
Overall, the ad gives the impression of being a crash course in The Male Gaze, even before you get to the poetry itself.