Toni Davidson - Scar Culture (1999)
100 Best Scottish Books of all Time
A challenging and at times deeply disturbing read, Scar Culture is a British One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and a dark, twisted spellbinder of a novel. Concentrating on the case studies of three abused children, you become privy to some of the most descriptive and horrifying material on this subject ever written. Seen from the point of view of the victims (in Click and Fright's case) and the abuser (Sad), you are drawn into accounts of sexual and physical attacks which slowly give an understanding of how victims justify this abuse and how the perpetrators balance what they are doing in their own depraved minds. As this part of the novel draws to an end, it's hard to imagine how anything can be worse than what has been doled out so far.
However, the real terror has only just begun. Unresponsive to traditional psychotherapeutic ways, the children are passed on to a special unit set up by two therapists, one of whom just happens to be Dr Curtis Sad, the aforementioned abuser. What follows is a graphic and horrifying depiction of just how wrong pushing the boundaries of science can go.
Adding a new horizon to the landscape of Scottish writing and, in particular, our deep-rooted fascination with crime and horror, Davidson (a teacher in Glasgow) gave Scotland a groundbreaking first novel. Using unusual and highly technical descriptive processes married to an oft-hidden subject area he pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable in writing today and in doing so, put himself forward as one of the most important young voices in literature worldwide.
View the complete list of the 100 Best Scottish Books.