Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Word of the day and a technical vocabulary

Today's word is Caledonian antisyzygy. I'll come to it shortly.

Today we also feature a technical vocabulary. and thank you to Christopher Brookmyre: "sleights and subtleties, shuffles, false cuts, drops and palms, vanishes, transpositions, penetrations." Put these words into the Google books search engine, and you do not find a book, even though the words are a quote from Brookmyre's A Snowball in Hell (Little, Brown, 2008). Put them into Google web search, and you find a new world of conjuring and its vocabulary.

Brookmyre is, of course, one of that loose group of writers described as tartan noir, contemporary Scottish crime fiction. According to the Wikipedia entry, "These works dwell on the duality of the soul; the nature of good and evil; issues of redemption, salvation and damnation amongst others. "Caledonian antisyzygy" - a Scottish phenomenon of the duality of a single entity - is a key driving force in Scottish literature, but appears especially prominently in the Tartan Noir genre."

So I'm taking an Ian Rankin and a Christopher Brookmyre on holiday with me, and a couple of Val McDermids. With best wishes to all of the readers (the reader?) of this fairly occasional blog - enjoy your holiday in your own way, too.


CW said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Derek! Am a fan of tartan noir, but must confess to never having heard of that phrase before! Should it be said with a Scottish accent?

Rebecca said...

Ah, Derek, proof positive that you have more than one reader ...

I have read one Christopher Brookmyre book, The sacred art of stealing (2003), about a bank robbery conducted by socialists wearing modern artist masks. I absolutely loved it.

Enjoy your Christmas break.

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