Kennedy and Boyd

The Year of the Short Corn, and Other Stories
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By Urquhart, Fred
ISBN 1849211256
SERIES The Fred Urquhart Collection
Paperback  266 pages
Published 15 February 2013
UK Price £12.95   Order from
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"The Year of the Short Corn" was first published in 1949, and the war, or its immediate aftermath, forms a presence in most of the stories. It can be a civilian family gathered together with scattered serving children for a precious Christmas leave, or a son or daughter returning from one of the services; it can illustrate clothes rationing, and the avid fervour with which civilian women greet silk stockings; it can be a 'townser' who thinks too much of himself who becomes snowbound on a North East farm, or the rage and humiliation of a young castrated ox. It can even be an Edinburgh boarding-house with a kenspeckle crew of lodgers (and an oversexed bulldog), under the eyes of a bewildered refugee girl from Vienna. Fred Urquhart was praised by George Orwell for the striking variety of his subject matter, and by others for his splendid dialogue, and his portraits of characters, especially women. None of these critics was wrong, but there is more here to praise!.

Having admired Fred Urquhart's work for many years, Colin Affleck, a fellow native of Edinburgh, became a friend of his on his return to Scotland in 1991. Urquhart later appointed him as his literary executor. Among Dr Affleck's writings on Urquhart is a study focussing on his short stories, which appeared in British Short-Fiction Writers, 1945-1980 (edited by Dean Baldwin). Dr Affleck is now working on a biography of Urquhart.

© Kennedy & Boyd, an imprint of Zeticula Ltd., Unit 13, 196 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH24AT, Scotland