The News

Join J David Simons for The Land Agent launch

  

J David Simons is appearing at three different events in the next few days to mark the launch of his new novel The Land Agent, which is the conclusion to his epic Glasgow to Galilee trilogy.

The author will be giving readings, answering questions and signing copies of The Land Agent at the following locations:

Wed 22 October, 7pm: Giffnock Library. 

Thu 23 October, 7pm: Waterstones Argyle St, Glasgow. 

Wed 29 Oct, 6.30pm: Blackwells South Bridge, Edinburgh.

The Land Agent, published on 23 October, reconnects us with the stories of the award-winning The Credit Draper and The Liberation of Celia Kahn, both of which have recently been updated by Simons and published with new covers.

Set in 1920s Palestine, this latest novel follows the story of Polish-Jewish immigrant Lev Sela who, while working as a land agent for one of the richest men in the world, stumbles upon a strategic area of land that doesn’t exist on any map. The resultant struggle for ownership involves the Jews, the Arabs, the Zionists, the British, a Russian engineer with ambitions to build a hydro-electric power station and the tribe of Bedouin living there. The dispute also draws Lev into a relationship with Celia Kahn, a beautiful Scottish pioneer living on a nearby kibbutz. 

Extraordinarily, Simons pulls off the difficult task of explaining the historical context, the complex issues and the multiple players at work in the Middle East during the 1920s – all while telling a gripping tale of love and finding a home in the world. 

The Eagle's Way shortlisted for Saltire Society Literary Award

  

The Eagle's Way, the splendid book by Jim Crumley that explores in depth the golden and white-tailed eagles of Scotland, has been shortlisted for this year's Saltire Society Research Book of the Year Award. It is competing against five other titles for the coveted award, the winner of which will be announced at a special ceremony on 11th November.

The winner of the Research category will go on to compete for the overall Scottish Book of the Year prize. Widely regarded as Scotland’s most prestigious book awards, the Saltire Literary Awards are organised by the Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936 which has membership branches throughout Scotland. 

The Eagle's Way is a fine volume of nature writing rather than an academic presentation, and is the result of several years of painstaking and highly specialist field and historical research, informed by Jim's thirty-year career of studying, observing and writing about nature and the nation’s wildlife and wilderness environments.

Since its release in March of this year, The Eagle's Way has won universal praise from critics. Sir John Lister-Kaye wrote that Crumley "pursued [eagles] with binoculars every day, plotting their movements, identifying individuals, learning their ways … It is an intriguing lesson not just in fieldcraft, but also in human and animal psychology."

Jim Perrin admired his "patient outdoor hours of acute observation; the well-stocked mind that is the frame of reference for his narrative … the exceptional depth of personal knowledge and experience." For naturalist Paul Evan, the book "represents half a lifetime of watching and thinking about eagles, waiting in his glen, becoming a mobile fragment of the chosen landscape of eagle after eagle".

New updated editions of first novels in Glasgow to Galilee trilogy by J David Simons

New versions published six weeks before the release of The Land Agent, which is Simons’ concluding novel in his canonical Scottish-Jewish trilogy

    

J David Simons, Scotland’s pre-eminent Jewish novelist - whose novel last year, An Exquisite Sense of What Is Beautiful, was a bestseller - has re-edited the first two books in his magnum opus, the Glasgow to Galilee trilogy.

Both books are being re-issued by Saraband on 11 September 2014, before the publication of the trilogy’s finale, The Land Agent, published in hardback on 23 October 2014.

The Credit Draper, shortlisted for the McKitterick Prize, follows young Avram Escovitz, who is shipped off to Scotland in 1911 to escape conscription into the Russian army. Living in the heart of Glasgow’s tight-knit Jewish community,
he dreams of playing for Celtic until World War I intervenes and he is sent to work as a credit draper, peddling goods on credit to Highland villagers. A stranger in a strange land, Avram is faced with the challenges of setting up a new business and capturing the heart of a Highland lass. But how easy will it be to shake off his Jewish roots?

The Liberation of Celia Kahn begins in Glasgow, 1915, against the background of rent strikes, anti-war sentiment and a revolution brewing in Russia. Celia, a young Jewish woman from the Gorbals, discovers a taste for protest, female solidarity, and the empowerment of women made possible by birth control. Her political sensibilities are fired up even further by a personal trauma, while a new love affair
presents difficult choices.

Touching on issues of identity, displacement, community, feminism, alcoholism, socialism and idealism, these novels provide a valuable literary record of a community that has so far been unjustly neglected in fiction. More than that, though, Simons has given us two unforgettable stories deserving of a wide audience.

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