An irresistible business opportunity lures solitary, unhealthy Gordon Claypole back to the Scottish landscape of his childhood holidays to be challenged by sexual attraction and the possibility of a new way of living.
Overweight entrepreneur Claypole’s booze- and junk-food–fueled life takes an unexpected turn when Coky Viveksananda, last seen in a garden in Scotland 25 summers earlier—when he was 10 and she was 8—requests to become Claypole’s 35th Facebook friend. Coky is the niece of Peregrine MacGilp of MacGilp, a posh Scot who wants to take advantage of Claypole’s supposed business expertise to help push through plans for a wind farm on MacGilp land in a remote corner of Western Scotland. Soon Claypole has abandoned London for the wild, wet landscape of the north, where a community of eccentrics, some strongly opposed to the wind farm—including Peregrine’s two sisters—awaits him. There, Claypole is beset by wildlife and unreliable transport, hippies and drugs, wily landowners and TV-influenced mayhem as he struggles to perform the job Peregrine hired him to do. Further distraction comes in the form of Coky and the exposure of Claypole’s imploding finances. Macintyre’s debut is a comedy of a fairly traditional nature that transposes a misfit into a semialien milieu to be tested by strange encounters, physical challenges, and a big conundrum and from which he will emerge a better man, enlightened and moored in an emotional safe harbor. Sexual misunderstandings, slapstick, and some silly repetitive jokes lend the novel a flavor of Benny Hill, but the eco-debate pulls it into the 21st century, and Macintyre’s often snappy prose offers some compensation for the skimpiness of both character and storyline.
Slight, light entertainment.