The Slow Air of Ewan MacPherson [NOOK Book]


Though it?s not quite the motherland, Glasglow, Kansas, makes a fine home for Scotsman Rob MacPherson and his son Ewan. As the elder MacPherson blows up whiskey stills in his attempts to make a single-malt Scotch, Ewan falls in love?at twelve years of age?with Shirley Porter.
There?s no turning back for Ewan. From that moment on, his heart has set its course. Through adolescence and into adulthood, through becoming a high school ...
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The Slow Air of Ewan MacPherson

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Though it’s not quite the motherland, Glasglow, Kansas, makes a fine home for Scotsman Rob MacPherson and his son Ewan. As the elder MacPherson blows up whiskey stills in his attempts to make a single-malt Scotch, Ewan falls in love—at twelve years of age—with Shirley Porter.
There’s no turning back for Ewan. From that moment on, his heart has set its course. Through adolescence and into adulthood, through becoming a high school teacher, bagpipe instructor, loyal son, and keeper of all Scottish traditions, Ewan has found his one true passion—much like his father’s obsession with single malt Scotch. A passion that—through trial and error—will teach him that love is an acquired taste . . .
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Whiskey, bagpipes, haggis and Robert Burns: Averill plops Scottish institutions into the American heartland in this meandering coming-of-age tale. In 1952, Rob MacPherson and his infant son, Ewan, emigrate from Scotland to the very Scottish town of Glasgow, Kans., to realize Rob's dream of brewing a single-malt Scotch whiskey in America. The experiment fails horribly: the still explodes in 1963, killing a family friend and wounding Ewan. The remainder of the book is Ewan's story-his struggles with his father, his bagpipe playing and, primarily, his off-again, on-again romance with local girl Shirley Porter. After high school, the two "hand-fast," an old Celtic custom that amounts to a year-long trial marriage. Headstrong Shirley chafes at domesticity and betrays Ewan with his father before disappearing. In her absence, Ewan dates, drinks whiskey and spends a lot of time thinking about and playing his bagpipes (as does his father), which makes for tedious reading. Shirley eventually returns to Glasgow, where she and Ewan spar for long years over whether or not they should be a couple. Averill's second novel (after Secrets of Tsil Cafe) is filled with gloomy, stubborn people who seemingly expect to be unhappy and seldom disappoint themselves. Painful secrets are revealed very slowly, while the happy ending comes too suddenly for a book whose subject speaks primarily to the hardships of love. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
While traveling with her husband from Scotland to America, Ewan MacPherson's mother dies at sea after giving birth to her only son. After her death, Ewan's father, Rob, settles in Glasgow, KS. Rob aims to uphold Scottish ways, trying disastrously to replicate the Scotch whiskey he remembered and teaching his son to play the bagpipes. Testy relationships between father and son as well as Ewan and his childhood girlfriend make up what little there is of this lightweight novel. There is romance, there's a bit of mystery about Ewan's heritage, and there is a lot of haggis being bagpiped in to the annual Robert Burns dinners. However, unlike Averill's last novel, Secrets of the Tsil Cafe, these ingredients do not add up to a satisfying meal. Mostly forgettable but perhaps of interest to readers who enjoy the wearing of the plaid.-Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A fair-to-middling coming-of-ager set in Kansas, where the flatness of the plains can't obscure the dark shadows of family secrets cast long ago in Scotland. Glasgow, Kansas, has very little in common with its Scottish counterpart other than its name and the presence of Rob MacPherson. Born and reared in the Gorbals slums of the old Glasgow, Rob came to the new one in 1952 with his infant son Ewan in tow. Mourning his wife (who'd died in childbirth while crossing the Atlantic and was buried at sea) and homesick for his native land, Rob manages to settle into life in the new world, finding work at the post office and acquiring some renown for his skill with the bagpipes as well as the ladies. Ewan, by contrast, grows up a quiet and reserved young man not much given to his father's favorite pastimes of whiskey and adultery. He does fall in love, though, with Shirley Porter-the daughter of one of Rob's many conquests. After high school, Ewan and Shirley court scandal by moving in with each other while still unmarried, an arrangement that Rob encourages, somewhat to his son's surprise. When Ewan discovers Shirley and his father in flagrante delicto, his surprise turns to outrage. He can break off with Shirley (and does), but he's stuck with his father, an untrustworthy jerk but the only blood kin Ewan has left in the world. Or so he thinks: The discovery of a secret family album gives Ewan a new and unsuspected insight into his origins and leads him to retrace his father's steps back to Glasgow in search of his mother. The truth, when it comes, is as sad as family secrets can be-but it explains a lot more than the past. Decently done but unremarkable: second-novelist Averill (Secrets of theTsil Café, 2001) creates some memorable characters but does little with them, and the lost-mother theme seems very old hat by now. Agent: Stephanie von Hirschberg
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480434462
  • Publisher: Dzanc Books
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 261
  • File size: 401 KB

Meet the Author

Thomas Fox Averill is a writer, novelist, and academic from Topeka, Kansas. His works, including Secrets of the Tsil Cafe, The Slow Air of Ewan Macpherson, and, more recently, Ordinary Genius, have won wide acclaim in Kansas and throughout the United States. Averill is a writer-in-residence and professor of English at Topeka’s Washburn University. Well known as a writer and teacher, Averill has published numerous works of fiction, short stories, and stories on his native Kansas and society at large.     
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Table of Contents

1. Distilling Kansas 1
2. Competitions 19
3. Shirley Porter 29
4. Hand-fasting 41
5. Piper's Son 55
6. Absence 63
7. Porter, Cork and Cane 85
8. Burns Nights 103
9. Game Plans 113
10. First Annual Scottish Highland Games, Glasgow, Kansas 133
11. And Then 151
12. More Matters of the Heart 171
13. Apprentice Piper 189
14. The Dying Piper 217
15. Funeral 225
16. Scotland, Kansas 245
17. Wedding 255
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