Andrew Crumey - Sputnik Caledonia (2 stars)

Sputnik Caledonia



Andrew Crumey has been putting a literary editorship at Scotland on Sunday and a PhD in theoretical physics to good use, juggling astral and quantum theory alongside plain, unfussy storytelling. Here, he throws some bygone Scottish socialism, an imagined Communist Europe and Einstein’s theory of relativity into the mix. However this, his sixth novel, suffers from characters that never wholly convince and even the innate intrigue of the cosmos is somehow lost in the mire of an uninspiring and at times gratuitously base story.

Ideas are laboured, especially in the overlong middle section of the book, and by the third and final part, where the first voices to really ring true have arrived somewhat late in the day, the sentiment that everything is connected has begun to wear thin. Thus, without wishing to sound unduly unkind, Sputnik Caledonia champions Goethe but reads more like a poor man’s Cloud Atlas.

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