As a child Iain Crichton Smith was raised speaking Gaelic on the island of Lewis. At school in Stornoway he spoke English. Like many islanders before and since, his culture was divided: two languages and two histories entailing exile. His divided perspective delineated the tyranny of history and religion, of the cramped life of small communities, and gave him a compassionate eye for the struggle of women and men in a world defined by denials. After the Dance proves that big themes – love, history, power, submission, death – can be addressed without the foil of irony and acquire resonance when given a local habitation and a voice that risks pure, humane, impassioned speech.
This updated edition includes the story ‘Home’