PREFERRED LIES by Andrew Greig


A Journey into the Heart of Scottish Golf
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Mountaineer, novelist and poet Greig (In Another Light, 2004, etc.) examines life and golf.

The sport conjures up a great many images, most involving upper-crust aristocracy, private clubs and affluent practitioners. The author, a proud Scot and on-and-off golfer, argues that it is actually remarkably universal: a game for men and women, for blue-collar workers as well as executives, for those who enjoy the beauty of somewhat overgrown nature as well as those who prefer well-manicured greens. Recovering from brain surgery, Greig approached the links to meditate on a variety of issues, most relating, perhaps not unexpectedly, to mortality. He took the opportunity to visit 18 golf courses in his native Scotland, from the northern point of the Orkney Islands to the celebrated greens of St. Andrews. Along the way, he ruminates on issues relating to the game and to life in general. The attempt to quantify the success of a round of golf with a scorecard can artificially taint and ruin a perfectly valid pursuit, he declares. A lopsided scorecard cruelly shows one player failing to measure up to a superior; declining scores suggest age and his mortality. Greig’s self-consciousness about his game also leads him to question his preference for playing alone as a means of avoiding the frustrations of competing. He eventually learns that company does not necessarily require competition and comes to enjoy fellowship on the course. He explores with great vulnerability and openness his relationships with his friends, brothers, father and wife. A portrait emerges of a man by no means perfect, but in many ways complete.

A lyrical and moving meditation.

Pub Date: Dec. 10th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-312-37299-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2007