As long as Knight is missing, Wedderburn will never be able to escape the past. Yet what will he do if Jamieson's search is successful? And what effect will this re-opening of old wounds have on those around him? Meanwhile, as Jamieson tries to unravel the true story of Joseph Knight he begins to question his own motivation.
How can he possibly find a man who does not want to be found? James Robertson's second novel is a tour de force, the gripping story of a search for a life that stretches over sixty years and moves from battlefields to the plantations of Jamaica, from Enlightenment Edinburgh to the back streets of Dundee.
It is a moving narrative of history, identity and ideas, that dramatically retells a fascinating but forgotten episode of Scottish history. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published March 1st by Fourth Estate first published More Details Original Title. Joseph Knight. Scotland Jamaica. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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More filters. Sort order. Dec 30, Bettie rated it it was amazing Shelves: winter , georgian , historical-fiction , philosophy , racism , britain-scotland , seven-seas , slaves , teh-brillianz , published This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. View all 8 comments.
Joseph W. Knight, DO
I was disappointed with this; I found much of it dry and rather academic. It's about real events and people, and it read more like a history book than a novel, especially the court scenes and the tiresome conversations with Samuel Johnson et al. Robertson was so keen to convey period atmosphere that he had pages and pages of description which fell smartly into the trap referred to by David Mitchell : To get it right, you need to research and research and research.
And then you need to hide all you I was disappointed with this; I found much of it dry and rather academic. And then you need to hide all your research, otherwise something else happens. You get sentences like, "Milord, would you like me to light the sperm whale oil lantern or would you prefer the cheaper but smokier pig tallow candle?
So you have to get it right, then you have to hide it. Take page , for example, a yawn-inducing description of two women spinning in a cottage that goes on for well over a page. Small sample: In the cottage lived in by Ann, her mother and her child, tiny thick-glassed windows admitted a minimum of light during the brief winter days, and at night gave out only the faintest flickering indications of life within.
The floor was of trodden clay, damp and cold at this time of year. The hearth, built of stone flags, was where their waking life was centred. I gave it an extra star for the ending; otherwise, it would have been a two-star read. Barry Unsworth did this much better.
It's slavery that biggit this fine hoose
View all 4 comments. Jul 27, Jim rated it it was amazing. The book is about the search for Joseph Knight, an African who was the subject of an pivotal court case in 18th century Scotland, deciding whether a slave bought and sold in Jamaica can remain a slave once he has been transported to live in Scotland. The search for Joseph Knight is conducted on our behalf by Archibald Jamieson, an enquiry agent.
by James Robertson
And the intrigue built for meal so. At the same time, the story gives a touching examination of character and humanity. I thought the final chapter of this book was just superb. It comes as quite an emotional release as it fills all the gaps and finally gets you into the mind of Joseph Knight, who as a character is largely missing from the narrative up to that point.
While this is great story telling, it takes a little stamina. But the quality carries it through. I particularly enjoyed the courtroom scene mostly conducted in Scots and the eye opening final chapter. May 26, Stephen rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Scottish history esp. Shelves: scottish , reviewed , favourites , liked , domestic-realism. If they tell themselves stories that are lies, they will suffer the future consequences of those lies.
If they tell themselves stories that face their own truths, they will free their histories for future flowerings.
Joseph Knight (novel) - Wikipedia
Cynic: Flowery words. Our view of our own history is flowery and romanticised. Scots consider Wallace and Bruce and the Jacobite rebellions as our true history and the Empire as somehow English business. By the time he gets back to Scotland his contemporaries already see his old allegiances as romantic and quaint rather than political because by this time Scotland, former Jacobites and Hanovarians alike, are active and enthusiastic participants in slavery and the Empire.
But it did exemplify an actual problem with the book. But it was the latter half which dragged. The book could have lost pages, easily, and been all the better for it. Optimist: I had similar reservations about the second-half of the book but I think the final chapter made it all worth it.
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Optimist: Christ, will you stop with Gideon Mack. Cynic: It's true though. Optimist: You're unbearable. Aug 17, Kate rated it liked it. I did not enjoy this book. It took too long to introduce the title character. For people interested in Scottish history and Scottish aristocracy, it was an eye opener on how the rich Scots made their money in the Colonies.
Too much Scottish vernacular. A lot of irrelevant scenes such as Boswell and Johnson in Scotland. I do not get the connection between the battle of Culloden and the battle to claim ownership of a slave. Sep 11, MJ Nicholls rated it liked it Shelves: novels , hoots-mon. Entertaining if overlong telling of the story of Joseph Knight.
This was a pivotal moment in black history: a slave is given his freedom but must live with the hypocrises and spectres of his past. Exemplary Scots dialect, canny plotting and humorous digressions abound. Historical novels aren't my teacup, but I was pleasantly involved despite myself. Though pages could be sliced, easily. Jul 18, Padavi rated it liked it.
I felt there were several novels fighting for prominence within the covers. I would like to read a novel about Knight's 'missing' years though. Mar 27, Heidi rated it it was amazing. I think I've found a new favourite author. This book is based on the true story of Joseph Knight, a slave kidnapped from Africa and transported to Jamaica, bought by Scotsman and plantation owner John Wedderburn, and later brought to Scotland to be Wedderburn's personal valet when Wedderburn decided to return to the homeland with his plantation riches.