The year is 1858. Thomas Glover is a gutsy eighteen-year-old who grasps the chance of escape to foreign lands and takes a posting as a trader in Japan. Within ten years he amasses a great fortune, learns the ways of the samurai, and, on the other side of the law, brings about the overthrow of the Shogun. Yet beneath Glover’s astonishing success lies a man cut to the heart. His love affair with a courtesan - a woman who, unknown to him, would bear him the son for which he had always longed - would form a tragedy so dramatic as to be immortalised in the stories behind Madame Butterfly and Miss Saigon.
The Pure Land relives in fiction the arc of Glover’s true-life rise and fall, and forges a hundred-year saga that culminates in the annihilation of Nagasaki in 1945.
“His imagination is given full rein but this never clouds his instinctive understanding of the contradictions of the human condition. It is a glorious finale to a very fine novel.”
See more reviews
“Edinburgh writer Spence, whose accolades include Scottish Writer of the Year in 1995, tells how in 1858 Glover left Aberdeenshire for Nagasaki, where he went on to build a business empire and become a key figure in Japan’s industrialisation.”
Alan Spence is an award winning poet, playwright, novelist and short story writer. His awards include the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award, the Macallan Short Story Prize and the McVitie Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year. He is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen, where he is also Artistic Director of the annual WORD Festival.