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Birlinn eBooks
Publication Date
20 April 2015
Available as an eBook only
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd

Goodbye, Mr Dixon

by Iain Crichton Smith - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

The titular Mr Dixon is not the novel’s main character but the creation of the novel’s main character, Tom Spence. Spence describes himself as 'an embryo novelist'; he has had the odd job – for example, delivering mail – but is largely without skills and has bet all on his career as a writer. Unfortunately he has 'never brought a novel to a successful conclusion' never mind had one published, and, unable to live the dream, has instead dreamed it through his protagonist, Drew Dixon. His novel has ground to a halt because he has decided Dixon will 'meet a girl of twenty-five or thereabouts whose entry into his world was to change his life' but has no idea how to write it.

Fortuitously he meets a young woman, Ann, and, as their relationship develops we begin to sense that it will be Spence’s life that is changed rather than Dixon’s. As Spence’s isolation ends he revisits his past, attempting to contact the mother he hasn’t seen in years and returning to his old school to see the English teacher who he believes encouraged him to write. Increasingly his admiration for Dixon turns to hatred and Spence is forced to choose between life and art.

Iain Crichton Smith was one of the best-loved and most prolific Scottish authors of the twentieth century. He was born in Glasgow, brought up in Lewis, and attended university in Aberdeen. After starting work as a teacher in Clydebank and Dumbarton, he taught at the High School in Oban until he took early retirement in 1977. He was the recipient of many literary awards and received an OBE in 1980. His widow, Donalda, still lives in Taynuilt, where the couple moved after their marriage in 1977.

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