Vagabond is committed to introducing new titles from Scottish authors and translating fiction from other languages. Our library reflects our aims to promote literary ambition and innovative writers, and to challenge readers.
by Zigmunds Skujiņš (trans. Uldis Balodis)
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 15 mm
Publication: 15 May 2019*
Set in the 1960s, Nakedness is the tale of a young man who has just completed his military service and gone straight to Randava to surprise Marika, the beautiful woman with whom he’s been corresponding for some time. The two have never met in person however, and when the young man arrives at her door, he quickly becomes entangled in a bizarre mystery: Marika claims that she has never written to him; in fact, she appears to be involved with someone else. And none of her flatmates will admit to sending the letters.
Humiliated, he prepares to return to Riga, but is convinced by one of Marika’s flatmates to stay a little longer – a decision that throws him even deeper into the web of conflicting relationships he has unwittingly entered. Each clue he uncovers only makes things more confusing, and eventually the young man’s own secrets and mendacity are also revealed. The nakedness that results from being deprived of our deceptions can be unpleasant, but it may be a necessary part of growing up and facing the world.
Skujiņš is an original stylist capable of deploying acute psychological observation as well as clever and often witty imagery, and Uldis Balodis has managed to retain this in his excellent English translation. This novel will introduce the reader to a different world precisely because of the writing and the freshness of the dialogue, and not so much for the society it depicts, which resembles in some ways the mass society that also existed in Western Europe at the time, reminding us that even in those more hopeful times, the human condition was still a struggle with desires, ambitions and the image of ourselves we wish to project.
*Now shipping when ordered from our website (exclusive till May)
by A.H. Tammsaare (trans. Inna Feldbach and Alan Peter Trei)
Pages: 640 (approx.)
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 45 mm
Publication: 14 May 2019
Andres, an Estonian peasant, purchases a smallholding in a marshy part of the country, which the novel is named after. He takes his young wife, and an incident with their cow sets the tone for a life of struggle in which the family grows and gradually lifts itself out of extreme poverty. They don’t only have to strive against the elements, but also against their neighbour Pearu, a wily and ruthless man. This Tolstoyan epic amongst the peasantry and the restless city (in volumes II – IV) tells the story of how Tsarist Estonia developed into the First Republic through the experiences of a family and in particular the partly autobiographical character of Indrek, who leaves the land to get an education at the end of this volume. This monumental work by Estonia’s greatest writer is a European classic which has for too long been neglected in the English-speaking world.
The Reach of a Root
by Micaela Maftei & Laura Tansley
Pages: 200 pp (approx)
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 15 mm
Publication: 12 September 2019*
Power stances in loo cubicles; heartfelt letters from a stranger’s parents; clairvoyant coffee shop customers; awkward post-threesome encounters…
In this collection of short stories, Canada-based Micaela Maftei and UK-based Laura Tansley collaborate transatlantically to craft a single, blended voice; both in form and content, their stories consider place, displacement and the spaces where the two overlap. With insight and humour the authors map the ongoing search for selfhood across various stages and settings of women’s lives, magnifying the mundane to remind us that life is made up of the tiny details we often overlook. The Reach of a Root speaks to life’s anxieties, triumphs and trials, fusing Colin Barrett’s exploration of place and identity, the dark humour of Amy Hempel and the physicality of Joyce Carol Oates.
*Shipping exclusively from this website starting May 2019
Barking up the Right Tree 2018
by Paul Kavanagh
Dimensions: 198 x 130 mm
Publication: 30 April 2019
Beneath the wit and linguistic trickery of Paul Kavanagh in the company of his trusted Wee Ginger Dug, you’ll find an encyclopaedic knowledge of Scottish politics. Here is political satire in the best tradition. No punches are pulled, and strangely the humour is both brutal and subtle.
This collection of articles from The National covers the increasingly demented Brexit years. Kavanagh keeps catching the plethora of material the Brexiteers keep on giving to our overworked satirists, and he adds his own unique take on it all. He starts with a salute to the departing prime minister: “Goodbye Davie, you were the worst ever” but he, like the rest of us, will soon see how the “worst ever” can still get worse. He tracks the posturing of our politicians from “Our tea exports will take over the world, never have so many owed so much to a brew” to “The Empire is dead and ... the harsh realities of Brexit will expose that. The emperors of Brexit have no clothes.”
Read on and be enlightened – and lighten up with a few much-needed laughs.
by Stewart Ennis
Pages: 340 pp (approx)
Dimensions: 210 x 140 mm
Publication: Spring 2019
Blessed Assurance is a coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of a small close-knit evangelical community in the fictional Scottish village of Kilhaugh one fogbound December in late 1969. The story takes place over six soul-searching days in the life of God-fearing eleven-year-old Joseph Kirkland – and his godless, devil-may-care best friend Archie Truman – as Joseph attempts to put right what he believes to be the most terrible of lies.
Packed with colourful characters and peppered with moments of tenderness, tragedy and occasional surreal dark humour, Blessed Assurance explores ideas of family, friendship, faith and grief, and the compromises that have to be made to remain part of a community.