Scott's Book Review

Consider the Lilies

Consider the Lilies

Iain Crichton Smith

Scott

The Highland Clearances, occurring roughly between 1792 and the 1850s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Clearances), was one of the cruellest episodes in Scotland’s history. In Consider the Lilies (1968) Iain Crichton Smith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Crichton_Smith) captures its impact through the thoughts and memories of old Mrs Scott who has lived all her life within the narrow confines of her community. Alone and bewildered by the demands of the factor, Patrick Sellar, she approaches the Minister for help, only to have her faith shattered by his hypocrisy. She finds comfort, however, from a surprising source: Donald Macleod, an imaginative and self-educated man who has been ostracised by his neighbours on account of his atheism (Crichton Smith was himself an atheist). Through MacLeod and through the circumstances forced upon her, the old woman achieves new strength. Written with compassion, in spare and simple prose, Consider the Lilies is a moving testament to the enduring qualities which enable the oppressed to triumph in defeat. It also hauntingly captures the quality of Highland life now disappeared.

150 pages in Phoenix paperback edition

ISBN 978-0753812938

Iain Crichton Smith

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