Chris Guthrie, torn between her love of the land and her desire to escape the narrow horizons of a peasant culture, is the thread that links these three works. In them, Gibbon interweaves the personal joys and sorrows of Chris' life with the greater historical and political events of the time.
Sunset Song, the first and most celebrated book of the trilogy, covers the early years of the twentieth century, including the First World War. Chris survives, with her son Ewan, but the tragedy has struck and her wild spirit is subdued. In Cloud Howe, as the minister's wife, Chris learns to love again, and we witness the cruel gossip and high comedy of small village life until, once again, Chris suffers a terrible loss. Grey Granite focuses on her son Ewan and his passionate involvement with justice for the common man. For Chris, with her intuitive strength, nothing lasts - only the land endures.
James Leslie Mitchell, 'Lewis Grassic Gibbon' (1901-35), was born and brought up in the rich farming land of Scotland's North-East coast. After a brief journalistic career, he joined the Royal Army Service Corps in 1919, serving in Persia, India and Egypt before he spent six years as a clerk in the RAF. He married Rebecca Middleton in 1925, and became a full-time writer in 1929. He was a prolific writer of novels, short stories and essays and had seventeen full length books published before his untimely death at the age of thirty-four. He adopted his maternal grandmother's name for his Scottish work including A Scots Quair: Sunset Song, Cloud Howe and Grey Granite. An unfinished novel, The Speak of the Mearns, was published posthumously in 1982.