July 26 , 2008

Just Duffy


Introduced by Margery Palmer McCulloch. In writing Just Duffy, a novel set amidst the urban decay of Lanarkshire, Robin Jenkins has created a modern-day Confession of a Justified Sinner. Convinced of his own rectitude, appalled at the moral squalor around him, Duffy declares war on society. Ridiculous, yet horrifying at the same time, his campaign builds to a terrifying conclusion. Beset with ambiguity, Duffy is a ferocious indictment of Calvinistic moral certainty, of a struggle for good which results in only evil and destruction. The deeply ironic title bears witness to the mismatch of Duffy’s aspiration against his own insignificance. The themes of this novel are central to all Jenkins’ work. In its stark simplicity Just Duffy lays claim to being one of his most significant and powerful novels. Its inexorable drive and power bear witness to a modern Greek tragedy played out on a Scottish stage. ‘Challenging and absorbing . . . a powerful and mordant irony.’ Scotsman ‘Stark and hypnotically well written.’ Irish Independent ‘Robin Jenkins is the most outstanding novelist that Scotland has produced since the war.’ Compton Mackenzie

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