Dazzling, original second novel from the supremely talented author of the acclaimed WHITE MALE HEART.
A remote fishing village in Scotland seems the perfect place for Betsy Gillander to abscond for a few days with her fiancé. There, in a landscape marred only by a vast MoD range away to the west, the pale winter sun lights up this next step in her happy and structured life.
But then a violent storm wraps itself around the village and for three days the couple are trapped in their hotel. The enforced intimacy opens Betsy’s eyes to the indolent cruelty of the man she’s agreed to marry, while in the hotel bar the locals gather, increasingly anxious for news of a boat still out at sea.
By the time the sun reappears, Betsy’s fiancé has left her and she is adrift in a community shattered by the loss of the boat and seven of its sons. The pain of her break-up in the face of such tragedy produces in her a terrible guilt and Betsy finds herself drawn into a cloistered, close-knit community with a morality far beyond her understanding...
Ruaridh Nicoll was born in Arbroath, Angus, in 1969 and raised in the Highland county of Sutherland. An award-winning journalist, he served as the Observer's US correspondent and the Guardian's Southern Africa correspondent. His first novel was the critically acclaimed WHITE MALE HEART. He lives in Edinburgh.
‘Absorbing…while the narrative is well-crafted and builds to a bravura climax, it is in the evocation of atmosphere, that elusive art, that Nicoll really earns his spurs’
,‘A quietly spooky tale…unsettling and oddly exhilarating’
,‘Emotionally-wrought…in turn lyrical and violent, fable-like and gutsy’
‘Nicoll writes intricate, accurate prose and offers alluring descriptions of the Scottish landscape…The landscape of Wide Eyed is beautiful and the situation is fascinating’
‘Lyrical and compelling…Another triumph’
,‘A quietly spooky tale...Part of the strength of the book as a thriller is the artful way Nicoll manipulates our sympathies...it is in the evocation of atmosphere, that elusive art, that Nicoll really earns his spurs. He is the master of everything from simple natural descriptions that have the limpidity of a watercolour to extravagantly gothic episodes in darkened churchyards. Weird events are set against equally weird backdrops: from RAF jets roaring across a cloudless sky to the burning pyres associated with foot-and-mouth disease. The result is a novel that is both unsettling and oddly exhilarating','Nicoll writes intricate, accurate prose and offers alluring descriptions of the Scottish landscape...The landscape of Wide Eyed is beautiful and the situation is fascinating','The writing is lyrical and compelling and, for all the novel’s emotive subject matter and intermittent violence, Nicoll’s portrayal of grief, and the need to make sense of calamity is never less than convincing. Another triumph','Asked to condense a review of Ruaridh Nicoll’s second novel into just one word, I would have to plump for atmospheric. I could also say riveting, or dramatic – or even entertaining. Indeed it is all of these but, for me, it is the all-enveloping atmosphere of Galloway that leaves the deepest impression on the reader. This is a truly grand second novel...his descriptive writing is of the highest quality…a beautifully told tale – and you will not be disappointed with the ending','An emotionally-wrought novel, in turn lyrical and violent, fable-like and gutsy, in which many of its characters are on a quest to find out who they really are','A claustrophobically tense novel, Wide Eyed combines Nicoll’s profound love of the Scottish landscape and its people with a journalist’s eye for topicality...a writer who intends to become as prominent a part of the literary landscape as the cliffs and mountains from which he draws his inspiration'