This paragraph, right here. And all that follows it. This is the stuff I love, I admire, I weep over. This is the writing that woos me, makes me feel, makes me understand the world in a new way. This is poetry and love and words and all of the best things; insight, the touching of the soul. This is perfection. And even more perfect if you read the whole novel. One of the best things ever truly written, ever.
“So that was Chris and her reading and schooling, two Chrisses there were that fought for her heart and tormented her. You hated the land and the coarse speak of the folk and learning was brave and fine one day; and the next you’d waken with the peewits crying across the hills, deep and deep, crying in the heart of you and the smell of the earth in your face, almost you’d cry for that, the beauty of it and the sweetness of the Scottish land and skies.
You saw their faces in firelight, father’s and mother’s and the neighbour’s, before the lamps lit up, tired and kind, faces dear and close to you, you wanted the words they’d known and used, forgotten in the far-off youngness of their lives, Scots words to tell your heart how they wrung it and held it, the toil of their days and unendingly their fight.
And the next minute that passed from you, you were English, back to the English words so sharp and clean and true – for a while, for a while til they slid so smooth from your throat you knew they could never say anything that was worth the saying at all.”
Lewis Grassic Gibbon: A Scots Quair