Alexander McCall Smith (3 stars)

Dream Angus (Canongate)


The latest in the Canongate myths series, Dream Angus is about the Celtic god of dreams, youth, beauty, and love. Despite being stolen from his gentle water spirit mother by his overbearing, philandering father and palmed off on his uncle, Angus grows up to be a delightful character, loved by all as he dispenses dreams. Falling in love with Caér who, inconveniently, spends alternate years as a swan, he turns himself into one to be with her.

Alternating with chapters of Angus’ life are modern adaptations. The murderous uncle, adulterous spouses, newlyweds, a secretary falling in love with a pig keeper in spite of herself, and brothers separated as children are more engaging than the retelling of the original myth. Alexander McCall Smith hasn’t chosen the most dynamic legend to rewrite and it lacks the spark or darkness of more dramatic Celtic tales. An enjoyable yet hardly enthralling read.

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