Fatey Baines leads a convoluted life – avoiding work and responsibility, engaging in petty thefts and cursing, and evading the landlord’s agent, Oliri, who is always looking for his rent late. Luckily for me, he is a man with modest ambitions and counts himself rich when he has a pocket full of changes. “Old associate” Makmin one day presents him with a business opportunity. Big Red, a man’s giant – “his height is close to seven meters and his red hair, eyebrows and beard were so red that his massive head seems to be burning” – pays in cash for help with the excavation, the details are carefully preserved. As it turns out, Big Red is preparing a tunnel to a bank safe, a criminal gamble that both Fate and Makmin involuntarily participate in. When this sniper turns out to be bad, they fight a planned battle between Big Red and his enemy, Sonny Rutherford. Dozens of men are revealed, but before a chaotic struggle takes place, the two mass groups connect on their shared Scottish heritage. The Imbruglio gives an idea to Big Red: “We need a common focus, a national focus, and by God! … God! We already have that in English! We are a divided nation – Glasgow / Edinburgh, Catholic / Protestant, Highlander / Lollander, I And Sunny even … linguistically, it is likely that a farmer in Aberdeenshire has more in common with a Dutchman than with Cesnach … but is there a better unifying force than a common enemy? ”
A sledge describes in parchment the formation of a group of freedom fighters, the National Army for the Liberation of Scotland, or “NAILS”, a bunch of comically incompetent rags. My fate and Makmin’s seem to be swept up in Big Red’s ambition as if by a huge wave, refusing but also unwilling to claim themselves. The lack of this focused agency, the author impudently hints, characterizes the evil Scottish spirit, an ethos that is more likely to complain of oppression than to wage a skillful war against it. My fate is not so sure that just being Scottish means so much to the Scots, and therefore doubts it with a meaningful identity, not to mention calling for rebellious action: Or do they just not pay attention? ” The group’s exploits are the stuff of the vaudeville comedy, the stupid mistakes of the protesters all the time. The wit of a sled can cut quickly, but it is also silly deep, and this light but feverish tenor is very difficult to maintain freshness throughout an affair, even on the short side. Moreover, the dialogue is presented in the thick ergot of the Scottish speech in question, and for the uninitiated, it can be a tedious shake-up: Stupid if you ask me. ” This is a funny book, full of wonderfully disrespectful insights. But that is not enough to make up for the laborious translation it requires.