Book Review: Walking Wounded by William McIlvanney

McIlvanney’s collection of short stories is a tribute to the ordinary and the mundane, capturing the tiny fragments of people’s lives while elevating their hopes, regrets, dreams and musings on to another plane entirely. Some moments make you laugh out loud while elsewhere, the poignancy is heartbreaking. As you read, characters from previous stories reappear briefly and this, coupled with the lyrical prose and realistic dialogue, gives the book a delightful and unforced unity.
In one story, ‘Beached’, which is barely 500 words long, McIlvanney is like an internal photographer as he captures a young widow’s response to a couple she glimpses on the beach. In this brief moment, she recognises ‘a promise life had made to her a while ago, a promise only fully known in its departure.’
The stories are of yearning, hopes and possibilities which may, somehow just may, be fulfilled. The pages are filled with the lives of the little, and supposedly insignificant, people, but McIlvanney’s depiction endows them with a grandeur which truly situates them as the real stuff from which history is made.
Powerful, evocative and deeply moving.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s