Physical description

Index, bib, ill, p.239.

Publication type



What is taboo in any family or in any society is never fixed. And neither is that body of family information which everybody knows but no one talks about. Mental illness is one such subject, and it created a kind of fence around one central element of Thomson's work in the 1980s - his grandfather Hector's story. He has had the courage to take that fence down and use a range of sources to enter the no man's land of suffering and isolation which was a part of his grandfather's life, and perforce, that of his grandmother and the young child who became his father. When the first edition was in preparation, Alistair Thomson's father objected strenuously to any mention in the book of his father's (Alistair's grandfather's) mental illness; reluctantly Alistair agreed to leave out the subject. We can understand why the author's father, himself a soldier, felt so strongly.<br/>.