This is a book about an Edinburgh pub crawl the week before 2014â€™s referendum on Scottish independence. Three friends are having a reunion: a nationalist, a unionist and one on the verge of leaving Britain.
Ian, the Nationalist, has been on a mission to convert everyone before the referendum and tonight he plans to work on Euan. But Euanâ€™s marriage is dying and he has other issues on his mind, while travel writer Stuart has decided to make the permanent move to France and doesn’t really care.
As usual, the debate rages with those convinced of their position, disbelieving the so-called evidence put forward by the other side, and so the book almost verges on a rant, but is saved by the trio meeting an escapee from a Residential Home.
95 year old Jock is ex army and has stories to tell. His mind is still sharp enough but he has no friends, except, perhaps, for Rosie, one of the Care Assistants, who defies her boss and sets out to look for him. The young men, fascinated by his stories, take him under their wing and as their pub crawl leads them down the Royal Mile, history and hope blend through light-hearted banter and a few close shavesÂ to a denouement, planned, of course, by both Ian and Jock close to the Scottish Parliament Building.
The mile is a debut novel that, while teetering on the edge of Â overkill and cliche, finally comes down on the side of passion and an antidote to boredom and cynicism. Sure, we all need to think about the way we vote next September and The Mile perfectly captures that mix of the Scottish population who don’t know what to believe or what to think.