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Some Kind of Grace
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Classic Fiction, Fiction
Publication Date
01 January 2004
Available as an eBook only
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Birlinn Limited

Some Kind of Grace

by Robin Jenkins - Find out more about the author


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This title is available as an eBook only

‘Worthy of the greatest respect throughout the English-language world’ – Paul Binding, Guardian

‘Let me alert everyone to the best-kept secret in modern British literature . . .  if you are interested in books that are humane and wise, not slick and cynical; then treat yourself this year to some Robin Jenkins’ – Andrew Marr

‘Many people can produce a novel, but very few are authentic writers whose sentences and paragraphs give intrinsic pleasure. Jenkins is one of them’ – J. B. Pick

‘Jenkins [is] a remarkable writer whose gentlest touch induces the greatest of pleasures’ – The Times

Two British travellers, Donald Kemp and Margaret Duncan, have disappeared in the wild mountainous region of northern Afghanistan; a terrain into which western Europeans seldom penetrate. The authorities in Kabul say that they have been murdered by the inhabitants of a small and primitive village and that retribution has already been exacted in the form of wholesale reprisals.

John McLeod, a friend of the missing couple who spent some years in Afghanistan as a diplomat, is deeply suspicious of these explanations. He returns to Kabul and starts his own enquiries, but everywhere he is met with obstruction and evasion, though McLeod is deterred neither by the devious courtesies of local officials nor by the discreet negations of his own embassy. The quest becomes an obsession in which physical pursuit is linked with a personal desire to discover the truth of Donald and Margaret’s strange relationship.

This gripping novel, first published in 1960, helped confirm Robin Jenkins as one of the most outstanding novelists of his generation. It was written shortly after his return from his two-year period in Kabul, and his experiences there add an unmistakeable ring of authenticity to his descriptions of this mysterious and remote country. Some Kind of Grace is a terrible warning of what outside interference can do to a country. Throughout the book Jenkins’ sympathy is with a people sacrificed on the altar of dogma and convenience by the great powers of East and West.

John Robin Jenkins was born in 1912, one of four children, in the village of Flemington, near Cambuslang. He studied English at the University of Glasgow. When World War II broke out, he registered as a conscientious objector and was directed to work for the Forestry Commission; he used this experience in the acclaimed novel, The Cone Gatherers. In 1957, he moved abroad to work in Spain, Afghanistan and Malaysia. In 1968, he settled in Dunoon where he remained for the rest of his life. In 2002 he received the Saltire Society’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. He died in 2005.

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