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.
Iain Crichton Smith was one of Scotland’s most prolific writers – from short stories, novels, radio and stage plays to critical essays and volumes of poetry. A reticent man who was addicted to detective fiction and doing crosswords, he was raised speaking Gaelic on the island of Lewis. At school in Stornoway, he learned English. Like many islanders before and since, his culture was divided: two languages, two histories. His divided perspective delineated the tyranny and dogma of religion, 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.