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Household Ghosts

Classic Fiction, Fiction
Canongate Classics
Publication Date
23 June 2008
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd

Household Ghosts

A James Kennaway Omnibus
by James Kennaway - Find out more about the author

This volume collects three of the very best works by James Kennaway. Memorably filmed with Alec Guinness and John Mills, Tunes of Glory is a grippingly dramatic exploration of the glamour and brutality of post-war army life as the tensions and conflicts in the officers' mess of a Highland regiment lead to shame and tragedy. Household Ghosts is a claustrophobic tale of family tension, love triangles and the persistence of the past - one of Kennaway's favourite themes. Set in a country house in Scotland the book is haunted, like the privileged family it describes, by the ghosts of Scotland's own turbulent history. Taken from completed drafts on the author's desk, Silence tells of the accidental meeting and the complex union between a white man and a black woman in times of racial tension and sexual violence. Set in a North American city in midwinter, Kennaway's last and brilliantly succinct novel expands into a universal allegory of suffering and death.

James Kennaway (1928-1968) was born in Auchterarder, Perthshire, and attended Glenalmond College. His father was a solicitor and his mother a doctor; his family life was comfortable, but marred by the death of his father when James was twelve, an occurrence that he claimed tainted much of the rest of his life. His best known novel was his first, Tunes of Glory, first published in 1956, which was based on the experiences of his National Service, spent in the Cameron Highlanders and later with the Gordon Highlanders on the Rhine. After studying at Oxford he joined a London publishing firm, and married a fellow Oxford student, Susan Edmonds. He died aged forty, after suffering a heart attack whist driving.

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