E book Assessment: The Different Facet of Stone, by Linda Cracknell

Linda Cracknell’s new brief story paints a outstanding portrait of a cursed constructing that defiles every thing it touches, writes Kirsty McLuckie

Linda Cracknell
Linda Cracknell

Specializing in an imposing Nineteenth-century windmill in Perthshire, Saltire’s shortlisted writer Linda Cracknell, The Different Facet of Stone, is outstanding brief story, interweaving threads of disparate lives spanning two centuries. Very similar to the tweeds which might be produced on the manufacturing facility – first by rural employees and hydropower, later by deafening machines – have their very own distinctive weft and warp, so the loosely related tales come collectively for create a satisfying complete, encompassing private relationships, political upheavals and the shadow of warfare.

The bodily presence of the mill constructing, chopping off the sunshine and spitting out fumes, is oppressive, made much more so by the darkish beating of crows, crows and jackdaws across the home windows. The primary story is that of a stonemason engaged on the development of the mill in 1830. Imbued with Gaelic folklore and, like different villagers, “fairly struck by the factor that climbs to the sky of metal, wooden and stone », It hides a mysterious image on the again of the date stone of the mill. This supernatural sculpture in Highland custom takes the type of a glaistig, or inexperienced lady, recognized to attract vacationers out of their manner. His spirit appears to clutch the mill, demanding loyalty from those that work there, even when they do not revenue from their work, and wresting a value from those that problem him. It represents a logo of industrialization and is against the pure world.

In 1913, a killer supporter of the suffrage motion railed in opposition to the mill and its maintain on her foreman husband. His fury on the dismantling of his ideas and the restrictions on his social place are all directed on the darkish constructing in entrance of his thatched cottage. She remembers the marches and demonstrations on Could 1, when males backed their wives’ requires common suffrage, earlier than the shadow of warfare modified perceptions and a strike appeared to shut the door on girls’s rights. girls.

The Different Facet of the Stone, by Linda Cracknell

In 1990, the manufacturing facility testifies to its final worker, locked up and rebellious within the face of the approaching closure, in opposition to the background of the disappearance of the textile business in Scotland. There’s a quiet dignity in George, locking himself in an empty constructing to complete off the final tweed, pulling out his ration of cookies and resisting calls to see the which means, in his try and protect the weavers’ information accrued over a long time. .

Even after the mill loses its unique objective, nonetheless, the story continues. The most recent within the line of mill homeowners, James Knight, was despatched to the Indian Ocean islands to move on conventional strategies of textile manufacturing, however in opposition to competitors from mass-produced rayon in Indonesia, his non permanent respite from the manufacturing facility in a single place it looks as if Heaven can solely let it really feel like a failure.

Then, within the twenty first century, there’s a last twist in historical past as a well-meaning actual property developer converts the mill into residences for the weekends; the sensation of dread is sort of insufferable.

Every of the tales features as a stand-alone piece of writing, every a poetic interpretation of a second in time that, whereas specializing in the mill, additionally touches on the key occasions of the time – the tip of the slave commerce. slaves, the bombing of factories on the Clyde or the warfare in Iraq. Every voice is exclusive (the foreman’s bitter spouse is a particular pleasure) and there are such a lot of evocative particulars. That stated, The Different Facet of Stone will not be a sentimental e-book, however slightly the portrayal of a deeply poisonous constructing that taints every thing it touches. A darkish and satanic mill certainly.

The Different Facet of the Stone, by Linda Cracknell, Taproot Press, 145pp, £ 14.99

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