James Runcie - East Fortune
- Doug Johnstone
- 2 April 2009
Featuring an ensemble cast of characters and set in East Lothian, this tedious novel is trying to be a modern family saga, but fails on almost every level. The story centres on the three Henderson brothers, all middle-aged and each a different kind of failure. Reclusive academic Jack begins a relationship with the young Polish girlfriend of a man he runs over in his car; sensible Angus is made redundant and dreams of a new life in Italy; and hapless Douglas is a philandering alcoholic.
Each of these characters and most of the others who pop up are paper-thin, middle class clichés, all self-indulgent angst and self-involved musings. The action, such as it is, switches from tortuous, banal dialogue, mostly to do with completely unconvincing romances, to long-winded internal monologues, and there is absolutely no engagement with any of the clumsily intertwined storylines, making it all fall completely flat.