From Publishers Weekly
The bestselling author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels and the 44 Scotland Street novels has always included one-offs and detours in his oeuvre (including The Criminal Law of Botswana
). Here, he turns in an elegant contemporary reworking of the ancient Celtic myth of the dream-giver god, Angus, familiar from Yeats's poetry. Lovely, fair Angus is the son of the terrible club-wielding god, Dagda, who sired the boy by ravishing the lovely water nymph Boann. The young boy who charms birds and inspires marvelous dreams is soon snatched from his mother and raised by Dagda's other son, the grown Midir. After some trials, Angus eventually learns who his true father is and tricks Dagda into relinquishing power. Smith fluidly weaves in contemporary vignettes of the dream god's benevolent influence, touching the lives of honeymooners on a windswept northern island; of a teenage boy sent away to boarding school in Scotland who tricks his mother into revealing who his true father is; and of a Toronto woman bereft at the discovery that her husband is having an affair. Angus, who presides over love and youth is also, it turns out, kindly to pigs. He is nicely reimagined in this spare, polished work. (Oct.)
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*Starred Review* Scotsman McCall Smith's lyrical retelling of the ancient tale of Angus, Celtic god of dreams and love, is the latest entry in Canongate's Myth series, featuring such literary notables as Margaret Atwood, Chinua Achebe, and Karen Armstrong. Angus is the son of chief Celtic god Dagda and Boann, a water nymph. Soon after his birth, the infant is snatched up by his formidable father and delivered to Dagda's other son, Midir, to be raised. Too young to know better, Angus assumes his brother is his father. The clever boy soon learns the truth and plays a trick on his self-absorbed dad. Alongside this playful plot, McCall Smith weaves modern-day yarns in which well-intentioned (and often devious) Angus transforms troubled lives: he remedies a newlywed couple's rocky start; bonds two beloved Scottish brothers, soon to be separated by thousands of miles; and quietly intercedes to prevent a father and son from coming to blows. Best known for his internationally best-selling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the prolific McCall Smith has delighted readers with books on topics ranging from eccentric German professors to Scottish sleuths and sausage dogs. This slim, elegant volume is further evidence of his consummate ability to blend wit, wisdom, and heart. Allison BlockCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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