Source and activity 5: Reviews

Reaction to the book

Boy on boat
Scene from film adaptation of 'A twelvemonth and a day'.

The following are reviews of Christopher Rush's book 'A twelvemonth and a day':

'With its bible-size characters, its tall and grisly tales of storms and wrecks, whales and sharks, witches and fetches, drownings and exhumations, it does convey a sense of that fatalistic awe which the sea inspired in those deeply devout fishing communities'.
'Times Literary Supplement'.

'Christopher Rush's book is a magical memory of childhood. His story is powerful, vivid, evocative, funny, awesome, loving and so assured in its writing it catches the breath … he can match words with anybody who has tried to write about Scotland.'
— 'The Herald'.

'This beautifully written book is further evidence of Rush's abundant literary talent. In the space of a few years he has emerged as one of Scotland's most eloquent new voices, a man with a forceful verbal presence and an artisitc flair. Here he has risen to the challenge of his material and shown that whereas death in the community is inevitable, the death of a community is a cause for profound concern'.
— 'The Scotsman'.

'A vivid child's eye portrayal of communal existence, the kind of memoir which thousands of people are always trying and failing to write … His rich chronicle will be enjoyed well outside East Fife.'
— 'The Guardian'.

Questions for discussion

  • Read the reviews again. What are your expecations of the book after having read these? Think about what expectations other readers might have if they've not read the book.
  • Watch the video again. What impressions do you get from the author of the kind of story he was trying to tell? Does it match what the reviewers think? Do you think he's sentimental or does he take a more practical view? How might this have affected his writing?
  • Looking at the reviews above, what type of reader might this book appeal to? Why?
  • Try writing your own review of a favourite or least-liked book. There are many places you can do this online. is a good place for posting book reviews.

Literacy and English experiences and outcomes: LIT4-07a; LIT 4-08a; LIT 4-09a; LIT 4-11a; LIT 4-14a; ENG 4-17a; ENG 4-19a.

Source and activity 6



Themes in focus — Christopher Rush


Christopher Rush in the Library's collections

For information on how to access the Christopher Rush archive, see our Manuscripts enquiry page.


Ordnance Survey 1957 map of St Monans and surrounding area including the old railway line.


A wide collection of other xmaps of the East Neuk of Fife are also available to view on the Maps of Scotland sheet viewer.


Library learning for you

If there's a topic you'd like more information about or if you have any suggestions for learning, email us.

Speak me