The Bottle Imp is an Association of Scottish Literary Studies e-zine. The magazine is published twice yearly and promotes Scotland’s vibrant literary culture. Contributors include Kevin MacNeil and Zoe Strachan. Read my review of Ajay Close’s The Daughter Of Lady Macbeth in Issue 21.
When Freya gives her mother a scarf for Christmas, Lilias reciprocates with tissue-wrapped lemon soaps. It’s the same every year. Theirs is a relationship that endures more from habit than love. ‘What if you turned out like your mother?’ the cover of Ajay Close’s The Daughter of Lady Macbeth asks. Thespian Lilias had been starring as the play’s leading lady when her waters broke onstage. Or so the story goes. Freya has learned not to trust anything Lilias says, especially regarding the grainy black and white photo of the man she claims is Freya’s father. But perhaps Freya has more in common with her mother than she would like to think.
The novel opens with a pregnant Lili standing on a moor with her two lovers, one of whom has a shotgun. It is 1972. The book interweaves this narrative with Freya’s journey through IVF. The experiences of parent and progeny are mirrored, with the fate of both developing in parallel. Five decades apart, both women sojourn to the country and stay at a boarding house-slash-farm run by a domineering landlady. In 1972, the unmarried Lilias is hiding her pregnancy from the world, while in the present day, Freya is to rest while receiving hormone injections at a nearby clinic […]