This is a gem of a book! Liza Campbell has written a beautifully composed book of her growing up in Scotland’s
Cawdor castle (the setting for Macbeth), and the the downward spiral of her father the 25th Thane. This memoir is several years removed from the year of her father’s death, which lends a mature aspect to her writing.
I usually don’t read much memoir, because sometimes it seems too rushed or lacking in retrospection. Not in this, though. The father and his wide appetites – for alcohol, women, self-absorption, etc. – make for one hell of a story and for the author, one hell of a way to grow up. Along with her to the point writing style, she has an amazing dry wit, with passages that made me laugh out loud.
Woven through the family story are descriptions of Scotland’s beauty, legends, history and lore. One underlying theme seems to be that despite having a castle and wealth, this family was encased in solitude and distance, created by the rules of title and the parents’ aloof attitudes to the children. I think anyone could enjoy this book – the time period is mid 1960s (her musings about this era and her father are great) and her writing style flows steadily and is a pleasure to read.