In this lyrical, evocative, and heartfelt memoir, Curtis Gillespie chronicles the year he spent with his wife and daughters in quaint Gullane, Scotland. Against the backdrop of a uniquely beautiful landscape, Gillespie deftly explores the bonds of fatherhood and friendship, and the irresistible lure of links golf.
When Curtis Gillespie first played a round in Gullane, he was a graduate student on the golf team at the University of St. Andrews. He wrote to his father back in Canada about the unmatched peacefulness and loveliness of the place and promised that the two of them would golf there together someday. After his father passed away before they could play the Scottish course, Gillespie vowed to return himself. Thirteen years after his first visit, Gillespie uproots his wife and two young daughters and moves to Gullane, hoping to learn something about himself, and his life, in the process. Early on Gillespie teams up with two aging local golfers named Archie and Jack (members at Gullane Golf Club for more than a century between them), and the ensuing friendship that blossoms between the elderly Scotsmen and the young Canadian infuses Playing Through with a sense of enchanting familiarity and easygoing charm. Gillespie samples courses like Muirfield and St. Andrews under the delightfully gruff guidance of Archie and Jack, soaks up the natural beauty of the countryside, and sets out to capture the full flavor of village life, haggis and all. The gregarious and eccentric locals, the stunning setting, the town’s history, and even his family’s response to their new life all converge in a warm, wonderful story rich with comedy and insight.
Skillfully interwoven through the narrative are anecdotes about Gillespie’s much-missed father, an ordinary man who inspired extraordinary love from his son. And though his father is not there to share in Gullane’s charms, the experience of moving to the village and coming to know its inhabitants helps Gillespie through an unexpected passage of discovery about his father, himself, and his own journey through fatherhood.
About Curtis Gillespie
CURTIS GILLESPIE is the author of two previous books, The Progress of an Object in Motion and Someone Like That. He teaches fiction and nonfiction writing at Grant MacEwan College and at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and he… More about Curtis Gillespie