“This was the terrifying mystery, why creatures he loved should kill one another. He had been told that all over the world in the war now being fought men, women and children were being slaughtered in thousands; cities were being burnt down”
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL NEVER RESTED: IN THE WORLD, AND IN EVERY HUMAN BEING, IT WENT ON
In the shadow of a war that rages through Europe, brothers Calum and Neil work to gather pine cones in the grounds of a Scottish estate. When Calum releases two mutilated rabbits from a snare, he comes face to face with Duror, the gamekeeper. In retaliation, in the depths of the wood, Duror lays a trap for the cone-gatherers.
Neil prophesises that forces of evil will encroach upon the harmony of their lives. It is a prophesy that comes true when Duror commits an act so brutal it destroys all sense of humanity in the once thriving wood. Powerful and unforgettable, Robin Jenkins’ masterpiece is a haunting story of love and violence, and an investigation of class-conflict, war and envy.
“Let me alert everyone to the best-kept secret in modern British literature. If you love the novel; if you are interested in books that are humane and wise, not slick and cynical; then treat yourself this year to some Robin Jenkins”
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“Like all great masters, his skill is lightly worn, his sentences singing with what he does not say”
“A masterpiece of concision and terrible pathos”
“Few novels in our heritage have the bell-like harmonies of this book … it has a strange haunting poetic quality, conjuring from a few props a fable of eternal significance”
Iain Crichton Smith
“It would not be too demonstrative to claim that The Cone-Gatherers is Scotland’s Cherry Orchard … It feels as eerily prescient today as it did when it was first published in the 1950s and is the kind of book that offers up new, modern meanings with every reading”
Robin Jenkins, OBE., was born in 1912. The author of more than thirty works of fiction, he received the Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun Award in 2002 for an outstanding contribution to Scottish life and in 2003 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Saltire Society. Jenkins was hailed as ‘the greatest living fiction-writer in Scotland’ (Scotsman) before he died in 2005.