Read Electric Brae by Andrew Greig Online


At the centre of the novel is the crumbling seastack of the Old Man of Hoy and the consuming relationship between a young artist, Kim, coldly passionate, talented, secretive, and Jimmy, a North Sea roughneck, engineer and climber. It deals with the possibility of friendship between men and women....

Title : Electric Brae
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780571212859
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Electric Brae Reviews

  • David Kintore
    2019-02-06 15:45

    What a wonderful book this is, one of those that lingers with you long after you’ve finished reading it. It’s got a deep melancholy running through it but also lots of passion, love, and light(ish)-hearted comment on Scotland’s east/west divide. Author Andrew Greig has published books on mountaineering, and climbing features prominently in this book, but thankfully not from what Christopher Brookmyre in Be My Enemy termed a ‘because-it’s-there macho bullshit’ perspective. Rather, Greig describes the bonds or mutual aversions that are formed between climbers. “Must these Glaswegians always be so abrasive”, muses the main character right at the start of the book when confronted by a belligerent fellow climber. The first meeting between Jimmy, the main character, and Kim, is when he meets her in an Aberdeen bar. He is about to go back to Stirling for two weeks break from the rig he has been working on. She is about to get the boat to Orkney where she is taking part in an archaeological dig. It’s a great scene, two people who don’t fit in finding each other in an awkward eagerness. “I was drinking slowly because I still had to get to Stirling and no one would be waiting for me there. I wasn’t looking for anything. I had many fears and no particular place to go… We looked at each other across a decade or so but I’d met one of my kind. Very different, but kin.”Electric Brae is funny, sad, lyrical, poignant, and uplifting.

  • Abailart
    2019-01-23 15:00

    Enjoyable page-turner, entertaining and humorous enough to hold at a distance the shadowy fears and anxieties that cloud around the action. Much of the humour is in the narrator’s self-deprecating Scottish maleness where silence is as virtuous as the bon mot that breaks it. A bit like Rebus, in fact. Not driven by anything more than the plot of what happens when a group of randomly connected young men and women meet and bond, separate and rebond in various chemical elective affinities. There’s the narrator writing by the light of an oil lamp, come with the child to that place to recollect, and it’s a direct reference to Justine, first of the Alexandria Quartet, but the reference is intentionally debunking and puerile. A literary read this isn’t. The settings are well done, from an out of season seaside resort in Ayrshire to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Stirling, and climbing locations. There is a fair amount of expertly handled descriptions of climbing, unsurprising as Greig is a writer-climber as well as a climber-writer. The climbing up is thematic too, as is the falling down, and the book’s title taken from a description of the Electric Brae where a road going down seems to be going up, and a road going up seems to be going down. A certain sense, therefore, of use of environment and space to resonate with what is going on in the characters’ heads. These characters could be from a late night BBC4 ‘lives of’ the thirty somethings: I had fun casting them. Although the ‘Justine’ character, Kim, is only 18 when the narrator begins his infatuation with her, he a whopping 28. Still, they fit innocently enough into the Thatcherite years when it was generally agreed that to protest loudly was to protest meaningfully; in fact, all of the characters are typical well fed western imperialists into hedonism, angst, sex , drugs, prolonged adolescent distaste for older people – and, of course, music, I mean that use of the term ‘music’ which dispenses with the need for seriousness or intellectual engagement by condensing the genuinely political and historical into a CD collection. Of course, it cannot last. While the Thatcherite destruction of traditional socialist values goes on unimpeded, the mixed up characters in this novel are either screwing up or else wondering why they screwed up. A question as to the novel’s value is to what extent these people are representative of a vaguely liberal, depoliticised generation of degree level successes detached from any worthwhile roots or anything worth dying for. I’d say it is pretty accurate. Something has to fall, and the momentum is partly given by a beautifully depicted treatment of a central character’s disintegration that seems to be perfectly congruent with the ambience of modern conceptual art where she is a rising star. There are other falls. People die. It comes as a shock but people die. Past a certain age we may remember to the day a similar state described of the narrator (who shifts between first and third person) who “…realised he was now old enough to think of some couples as young. He’d assumed his life was a try-out and tomorrow he could start for real. Now he was nearly halfway through and each day went quicker than the past.” As his Dad may have told him, life’s not a dress rehearsal. The narrator comes to reconsider his parents and notice his increasing resemblance to his father. Where the novel works wonderfully is its understated exposure of the vanities, conceits and diversions each generation uses to cover their deep and recurring fears and anxieties. In the end, the narrator realises, even the most hallowed of all conceits – romantic love and that rage towards finding the obscure perfect relationship – is hollow. It’s not a heavy read but it is powerful because really it does touch on what we’d rather not know. We’d rather not stop “confusing anxiety with passion.” It is an uplifting read because it is honest and has in it that spirit of generosity which may be the only meaning we need to have.

  • Karen
    2019-02-14 10:43

    I learnt that Men like crazy chicks and it helps to be a bit mental to create art.

  • chris tervit
    2019-01-26 08:40

    Liked the descriptions of Scottish places especially Shetland. The 70-80s setting also appealed. Narrator jumps about which at times made it more tricky to dip in & out of. I'd consider reading more of his - maybe 'That Summer' which he seems to be well known for. Warning- this did not go down well at my book group.

  • Carol Aldred
    2019-01-19 14:49

    This had me hooked from the second sentence. "Ach, and I exaggerate already. She's a child not a baby, and she's not crying now, so don't you worry about her."A twisted tale sub titled a modern romance.Had me absorbed and worried (not only about the bairn) all the way through.

  • Val Penny
    2019-02-17 09:04

    Andrew Greig is a Scottish author and poet who was born in Bannockburn, Scotland on 23 September 1951. He grew up in Anstruther in Fife. He attended The University of Edinburgh where he read Philosophy. Greig is also a former Writing Fellow of Glasgow University. He and his wife, the author Lesley Glaister now have homes in Edinburgh and Orkney.Electric Brae: A Modern Romance is the only book written by Andrew Grieg that I have read. It was his first novel and was published in 1992. The book was shortlisted for the McVitie's Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year. The author is a critically acclaimed writer. The Electric Brae is known locally as Croy Brae is a gravity hill in Ayrshire, Scotland, where cars appear to be drawn uphill by some mysterious attraction when in in fact the senstion is an optical illusion. The term 'Electric' dates from a time when it was incorrectly thought to be a phenomenon caused by electric or magnetic attraction within the Brae. There is this slope of 1 in 86 upwards from the bend to the Glen, the configuration of the land on either side of the road provides an optical illusion making it look as if the slope is going the other way. Therefore, a stationary car on the road with the brakes off will appear to move slowly uphill. I was delighted to learn the place really exists. It is not far from where I now live. However, unfortunately, I really did not enjoy this story.The book is set in Scotland and some of the Scottish words used may throw those not familiar with Scottish dialect. The descriptions are beautifully written and Greig's poetic gifts are evident there. In many ways it is a very Scottish novel, at its centre is the crumbling seastack of the Old Man of Hoy and there are vivid descriptions of the hills and mountains and climbing. However, it is hard to describe the book. It is billed as a romance, but I did not find much true romance in it. The story deals with ever swapping relationships amongst a quartet of friends in the Thatcher era. The story is told from the point of view of Jimmy, a climber, engineer and North Sea rough neck who works offshore on an oil rig. This is a complicated story of two couples, their love triangles and the ups and downs of their relationships.The love of Jimmy's life is a younger artist, Kim, who struggles with a dark past and staying out of mental institutions. Kim is cold, passionate talented and secretive. The book is also about the love between friends, both male and female, as well as the relationship of fathers with their kids.The writing is exemplary: I just did not enjoy the story in Electric Brae.

  • Lori Anderson
    2019-02-01 16:41

    A friend gave me this book to read and for the first 40 pages I was dubious, but it didn't take long to fall in love with it. The author has a way with words, and I kept finding myself pausing to mark passages I particularly liked.It's hard to describe this book. It's billed as a romance, but it's from the point of view of a man who works on an offshore oil rig. The love of his life is a younger artist who struggles with a dark past and staying out of mental institutions. The book is also about the love between friends (male and female) as well as the relationship of fathers with their kids.Written by a Scottish author, a few of the Scottish words can through you at first, but it most definitely didn't detract from the book.Recommended.Lori AndersonBlog Shop FacebookBook Blog

  • Hannah
    2019-02-19 17:01

    I bought this book because I liked the title so much, and after reading it I still think that's the best thing about it. The characters did feel like real people, and their experiences like life, but I had to read very slowly for some reason, kept putting the book away, and I kept forgetting what had happened a few chapters ago, even things I read just a day ago. But I guess that's just like life, too. I think I want to read more by this author, but not right months later some of the characters (especially Kim) and scenes from the book are still very vivid in my mind, which deserves mention because my memory really isn't very good so it speaks volumes for this book that I remembered it so well!

  • Judy
    2019-01-23 11:58

    Early novel by an excellent Scottish author. Deeply atmospheric, passionate and moving; people are not always what they seem, relationships complicated, as the story moves through shifts in time. Greig is a poetic writer who cares deeply for his country and his people - he writes vividly about both. This is a good read with insights into the fabric of secular, modern Scottish society: an oil rig engineer, artists, social workers, teachers, rock climbers and boat builders. The setting traverses the length of Scotland from Orkney to Glasgow through wild winters, icy rock climbs, council estates and Edinburgh digs. Loved it.

  • Hugh
    2019-01-28 12:06

    OK, so this may sound like damnation with faint praise, but this is the best novel I've read about climbing (including Simon Mawer's The Fall which I also enjoyed). I remember picking this up in a warehouse sale purely on the strength of the title and cover, but since then I have read and enjoyed more of Andrew Greig's novels, which were all interesting and well written, but this was the most enjoyable.

  • Lorna
    2019-02-08 08:56

    An early one of his but maybe the one I enjoyed most. Very Scottish and good descriptions of landscape and climbing set in ever swapping relationships amongst a quartet of friends in the Thatcher era. Quite a page turner even if not high quality literature I sat and read it all day.

  • Anna Grady
    2019-01-24 09:04

    I found lots to enjoy about this - the descriptions about art and the creative process, mental illness, Scottishness, friendship etc - and the quality of the writing but I found the central female character very irritating which diminished my overall enjoyment of the book.

  • Joan Fallon
    2019-01-31 13:47

    This is a complicated story of two couples and a love triangle (or triangles). It is beautifully written - you can tell that Andrew Greig is a poet. However if you are not from Scotland you might have some trouble with the dialogue - nevertheless well worth reading.

  • Rachel
    2019-01-29 17:09

    Couldn't make this one out either. Interesting writing, but not suiting my mood. Have read later books by this author (That Summer)and really enjoyed them. One to return to maybe?

  • Irving Munro
    2019-02-10 15:52

    I really enjoyed this book. The characters were great and the relationship development I very much enjoyed. Growing up in Scotland I could relate.

  • Ros Lawson
    2019-02-15 10:07

    Only managed 40 pages & gave up as I found this too hard to read. I think there's probably a good story in there but it wasn't for me.

  • Jane Dickie
    2019-01-20 11:56

    This is one of my fav books ever,love Andrew Greigs writing, set in Scotland and involving the hills and mountains and the ups and downs of relationships.A right good read.

  • Joy
    2019-01-31 11:59

    Brilliant so far.

  • Christine Cather
    2019-02-06 09:57

    Sad, real, evocative stories from my era, late '70's Glesca.True grit.A bit like a Scottish lament,- the whole book like a long song, like a life.