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A Snowball in Summer

A Snowball in Summer: poems by Lorn MacintyreThe poems in A Snowball in Summer evoke Lorn Macintyre’s childhood at Dunstaffnage House, Connel, and Taynuilt, Argyll, when fields were still ploughed by horses, where his grandfather, a champion fly fisherman, cast over pools plentiful with salmon, and where the computer had not yet enticed the young indoors from traditional outdoor pastimes. The poet celebrates the Macintyre presence in Glen Noe, the title A Snowball in Summer referring to part of the rent the clan had to pay for their tenancy of the cherished glen beneath Ben Cruachan.  In the poet’s adolescence the family moved to Tobermory on the island of Mull where his father Angus, legendary bank manager, poet and raconteur,  was obsessed with a Gaelic culture that was failing. The third phase of Lorn Macintyre’s life covered by this collection is his time spent in Glasgow, where he had the harrowing task of looking after his mother and watching her decline into dementia, a tragedy he documents with painful honesty and insight in the long poem in A Snowball in Summer. Poems on global warming show his concern for the drastic changes to our environment, the respect for which was instilled in him as a child.

Click here to view a poem from the book>>

To order A Snowball in Summer (73 pages, paperback) please click visit Argyll Publishing


The Chronicles of Invernevis

THE BROKEN LYRE is the fourth novel in Lorn Macintyre's Chronicles of Invernevis, one of the most ambitious cycles of fiction in modern Scottish literature, charting the fortunes of a Highland aristocratic family from 1900 to 2000. In THE BROKEN LYRE the story of the Macdonalds of Invernevis is taken up to the 1960s. International in scope, the novel opens in 1938 at Bernstein in Austria, the schloss of the Almasys, a family made famous by the portrayal of Laszlo Almasy in Michael Ondaatje's acclaimed novel The English Patient, and by the film of the same title starring Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas.
In The Broken Lyre the focus is on the friendship between Niall Macdonald, soon to become Laird of Invernevis, and Count Janos Almasy, just as complex and charismatic a character as his brother Laszlo. In the pre-war days of leisure and indulgence al Bernstein, where Unity Mitford, who also features in this novel, was a Hitler-worshipping guest, Niall Macdonald meets Amélie, a beautiful French countess, and follows her to Paris. There a tempestuous affaire ensues. The two lovers become involved in the Second World War as secret agents operating in France, and Niall (a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, and a fluent linguist) is directed by his spy-master in London to assist with the Maquis resistance operations against the Germans in the Haute-Savoie - where soon he must face a terrible life-or-death dilemma concerning Amélie.
THE BROKEN LYRE also features Unity Mitford’s last tragic days on the island of Inchkenneth in the Hebrides until her death in March 1948 from her self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in the English Garden, Munich, on the morning that war broke out in 1939.

Publication date of THE BROKEN LYRE is February 2008. To order a copy, contact Black Ace Books, P.O. Box 7547, Perth PH2 1AU. Tel: 01821 642822. Fax: 01821 642101.

Chronicles:
Cruel in the Shadow (1979), Collins and St Martin’s Press, New York.
The Blind Bend (1981), Collins and St Martin’s Press, New York.
Empty Footsteps (1996), Black Ace Books
The Broken Lyre (Feb 2008), Black Ace Books

“ Macintyre effectively deconstructs the pretensions and vain-glory of the great landed Catholic family of Macdonalds as their lairds exploit and condescend, abrogating to themselves a divinely-given right to what pleases them among their people. These are well-researched period pictures… and the more effective because Macintyre has an attitude towards his subjects which combines love as well as hate, regret for their inevitable anachronism...”
Scottish Literature, ed. Douglas Gifford, Sarah Dunnigan and Alan MacGillivray (Edinburgh University Press, 2002).


From Port Vendres (1992),

obtainable from Priormuir Press

In 1927 the Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh was in Port Vendres, a village on the Mediterranean side of the Franco-Spanish border. He remained in the modest Hotel du Commerce while his wife Margaret was in London for medical treatment in May and June.
In 1914 a disillusioned and disturbed Mackintosh had quit Glasgow, having resigned (probably by thankful mutual agreement) from his architectural partnership with John Keppie. The war years in London yielded few commissions, the zeppelin being the enemy of the architect, at least in the short term. The two Mackintoshs turned to designing printed fabrics.
In 1923 they moved to Collioure in the French Pyrenees, and thence to Port Vendres. Mackintosh devoted his time entirely to the creative medium of watercolour, an interest since youth. But he had a formidable task in front of him: the completion of about 50 paintings in order to ensure an exhibition in London's Leicester Galleries.
Margaret’s necessary sojourn in London that summer of 1927 was a setback to the painter slowed down by a childhood illness and the sweltering climate. To console himself and keep her in touch with life at Port Vendres, he wrote a series of letters to her. He called them his "Chronacle" (he was a bad speller) because they sometimes ran on into several days. In 1967 the letters were deposited in the Hunterian Art Gallery at Glasgow University, with the stipulation that they "are not to be published in any way and are only to be made available for purposes of research."
Much of the factual information within this sonnet cycle has been drawn from these letters. Lorn Macintyre is grateful to the Hunterian for permission to publish.


Sonnet One

Margaret, remember that nightmare
in London during the hostilities?
A zeppelin drifting over Glasgow,
dropping its cargo on my Art School?
Trapped inside so much timber,
trying to reach the huge windows
with my ladderback chair, I woke screaming.
You caught me in your arms.
The blaze broke out again last night.
I went into your room. In the moonlight
your straw hat was lying on your bed.
I held it without crushing to my heart.
I hope yours is easier in the capital.
From Your Toshie, come home soon.


Sir David Russell: A Biography

Canongate, 1994.

This illuminating account of the life and work of Sir David Russell (1872-1956) shows the famous Fife-born papermaker to be a cultured humanist and a pioneer of New Age thinking. As a young partner in his father's firm of Tullis Russell, Sir David's love of books and great ideas made him seek broader connections. He developed an early interest in alternative medicine, and in 1912 became president of the Leven Lodge of the Theosophical Society.
Shortly after, Sir David met the psychic Wellesley Tudor Pole, whose Private Dowding, the personal story of a soldier killed in battle, is considered to be a classic. The complementary qualities in the deep friendship between Tudor Pole and Russell led them to embark on a great 'quest' of archaeological discovery in the eastern Mediterranean. Sir David encouraged Tudor Pole's visionary belief that there were important relics to be found, and they eventually did uncover the site of the house of Justinian in Istanbul, as well as magnificent mosaics.
Spirituality was a living concept to Sir David Russell, and this biography tells of his role as instigator of the lona Retreat. He was also a philanthropic and innovative businessman who took a keen personal interest in his employees and their well-being. When Sir David died in 1956, the Tullis Russell mills in Markinch, Fife, employed a thousand people in a community-based plant with almost a village atmosphere. The Russell Trust has continued to finance excavations and scholarships throughout Scotland and the world.

Tobermory Days (2003),

Available from Argyll PublishingTobermory Days: Lorn Macintyre

An acclaimed collection of short stories based on the years Lorn Macintyre spent in Tobermory, Mull, the Hebridean town where the BBC Scotland cult children’s series Balamory is located. The stories are based round the activities of Archie MacLean, bank manager and Gaelic enthusiast, and the loveable and eccentric characters he encounters in the course of the day’s business in his office, where it is more important to listen an old woman’s impeccable Gaelic, though she hasn’t a penny in his bank, rather than spent the time arranging for an overdraft for a pompous estate owner.
“ This marvellous new book recreates that place [Mull] and is presented to us with compelling and exhilarating style.
West Highland Free Press.


 

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