SKU paperback Category

175 in stock


By Calum Cumming

ISBN: 978-1-78382-222-5
Published: 2016
Pages: 244
Key Themes: Mental Health, Identity, Scotland


This is a book about domestic disintegration.This serves as a
metaphor for the decline in contemporary Scottish Society.

It is a journey throughout Scotland. The central protagonist Cal
cannot conclude this investigation dispassionately. His
identity is enmeshed in a personal and National sense that is both a struggle for survival and a realisation that he has in some sense failed and therefore has been failed. His personal failure
represents the sheer hypocrisy of Scotlands social structure. Where the majority of the population in the face of often elemental and brutal alienation are condemned to eek out out some sort of marginal living. Led by the nose by a self satisfied, detached, bureacratic elite.

This of course is a paradox because whether we choose to hide or even disguise our compassion for one another, sensitivity and kindness suggests the end result is the same, we are all forced to live on the margins of existence. This book examines this final point, and finally separates the fallacy of contentment from the ideal of happiness.

About the Author

Calum Cumming was born on 18.05.1962 in Forfar Angus in Scotland. He spent the first two years of his life in Port Sudan, Sudan. His parents were English teachers there. As a child he was raised in Glenrothes, Scotland and Aberdeen. In secondary school while Calum did not shine academically he excelled at sport and was crowned National Team Amateur cycling Champion in 1977. After leaving school Calum served his time as a Site Engineer, with Wimpey in Aberdeen. He worked throughout Scotland after this, extending himself on contracts including roads, housing, schools and hospitals. Calum finally discovered his true gift for Literature when he studied full time at Newbattle Abbey Residential College between 1987 and 1988. He found the liberal atmosphere rewarding and indeed many famous authors spent time at Newbattle including George Mackay Brown and Archie Hinde. Indeed the first warden at the college was Edwin Muir whose wife Willa discovered Franz Kafka. Calum with Dr. Mary Ross his English Tutor there were instrumental in Saving The College for the Nation,in the face of a callous Tory administration, who unlike David Cameron, were obsessed with Thatcherism. Calum then went on to study for a MA at The University of Glasgow in 1988 he graduated MA Hons in 1992. Calum did not find the somewhat male dominated stifling atmosphere of University rewarding and was glad when his time was over. During his time at University Calum met and married his first wife Sally Mathieson who was from Los Angeles, California. Sally has two degrees and holds a doctorate in Psychiatry in Vermont where she now lives with her third husband and works as a doctor. Calum spent most of 1992 in USA and travelled with his wife by car from Seattle to Mexico. He met some truly wonderful people out there and continues to go back. By 1993 Calums marriage to Sally had failed and he returned alone to his mother Betsy in Aberdeen, Scotland. He was burnt out and after starting a Job as a Technical officer with the Water Board in Aberdeen amd another disastrous relationship he was diagnosed and hospitalised with Schizo Affective Disorder in late 1993. In the subsequent years calum has struggled ahead courageously on his own and has been free of Manic Depression for eight years. Calum continues to live on his own in Scotland and realized long ago he would have to move on from SAD if he was to survive on the Estate and council housing. In the face of material poverty calum has continued to heal and he has discovered his true gift as a poet and novelist.


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