A Dream of Silver
Due to the decline in his health, an old man is forced to move from his retirement cottage on Shetland to live at the Edinburgh home of his 10-year-old grandson. As a way of making contact with a child he hardly knows, and who hardly knows him, the old man begins to tell the boy the story of his own childhood and of his encounter with the works of the two giants of Scottish literature of the 19th century. It is a moral and physical journey; the narratives of the grandfather and grandson, and that of the old man’s childhood, closely interweaving. The pair seek out the old man’s first home by the sea front at Newhaven where the nightly beam from a lighthouse, flickering on the wall above his bed, became the one dependable fixture in his otherwise unstable world and where escape from painful reality induced an imaginary relationship with the ambiguous hero of his favourite storybook. From the old fishing village they trace the path of the old man’s childhood misadventure along the shores of the Forth to Queensferry and then over the sea to Shetland. In Shetland, the narratives come to a climax at a lighthouse perched on the most southerly point of the islands, where the historical paths of the two Scottish novelists cross, and where grandson, grandfather and the child that is now an old man, all face and comprehend uncomfortable and unavoidable truths.