The Guynd: A Scottish Journal

Overview

This memoir offers an American woman's uniquely privileged view into the pastoral Scotland of today. By turns funny, heartwarming, and occasionally sad, it is the author's account of her marriage to a Scottish landowner and of the years they spent together at "The Guynd," his large ancestral estate. We follow her steep learning curve in dealing with a grand and crumbling mansion still recovering from the effects of two World Wars, as well as an overgrown landscape, a derelict garden, troublesome tenants, local ...
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Overview

This memoir offers an American woman's uniquely privileged view into the pastoral Scotland of today. By turns funny, heartwarming, and occasionally sad, it is the author's account of her marriage to a Scottish landowner and of the years they spent together at "The Guynd," his large ancestral estate. We follow her steep learning curve in dealing with a grand and crumbling mansion still recovering from the effects of two World Wars, as well as an overgrown landscape, a derelict garden, troublesome tenants, local aristocracy, Scottish rituals, and a husband for whom change is anathema.

A son and heir draws the author into an intimate relationship with every tier of the local society, while a visiting American friend heightens the strain of the ever-present culture gap. Alternating between enchantment and despair, Rathbone digs into family and local history in an effort to understand her surroundings and free her husband from the grip of the past.

Like a letter home from a strange land, this book offers a view of Scotland not found in the guide books. The tale of the journey through the wrought iron gates and up the long tree-lined drive into the living past is both wry and poignant, both oddball and deeply reflective of the ties that bind us.
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Editorial Reviews

Bella Bathurst
Where the book lifts and excels, however, is in her description of her husband. In writing about John with affection, exasperation and sadness, Rathbone has managed to nail down a little bit of the Scottish soul in all its stark splendor.
— The New York Times
Library Journal
The Guynd (rhymes with "the wind") is the 200-year-old, much-neglected 32-room house and estate owned by the distant cousin Rathbone (Walker Evans: A Biography) married when she was 39 and he 53. Rathbone accepted the family home's importance to her husband and, not without misgivings, packed up and left New York for the Scottish highlands. This is the journal of her efforts, much resisted by her husband (who found change unsettling and unnecessary), to bring the house back to life and so find her place in her husband's world. As the previous glory of the estate slowly begins to emerge from the overgrown wilderness, Rathbone introduces the reader to a quirky cast of characters, friends, freeloaders, and thieves. For Anglophiles, this personal and well-written look into Scottish country society and the daunting task of refurbishing and maintaining a sizable estate will be fascinating. At the same time, other readers will find this a poignant story of a marriage that never quite seems to gel. Recommended for public libraries.-Linda M. Kaufmann, Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts Lib., North Adams Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593720155
  • Publisher: Quantuck Lane Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2005
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Belinda Rathbone is a photography historian who has written widely on modern and contemporary photographers. She is the author of Walker Evans: A Biography, a New York Times Notable Book of 1995. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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