It’s hard to believe, but I’ve just come across another novel that features piobaireachd.
Dedicated readers of this site (you know who you are) will recall that back in July I wrote about the novel “A Certain Slant of Light”, by Cynthia Thayer. That story used pipe tunes (many of them piobaireachd) as chapter headings, and made the playing of ceol mor an integral part of the plot.
During one of my oddly intuitive searches of the Salt Lake City Library’s catalog, I came across a novel just published this September called “Not Yet Drown’d”, by Peg Kingman. In this book, the protagonist sets out on a search for her missing (supposed dead) brother. The search is in part provoked by the sister’s posthumous receipt of a collection of his possessions, including the manuscript for a piobaireachd enigmatically retitled “Not Yet Drown’d”, that the bagpipe-playing brother had been working on before his “death”.
So, I should say at this point that I have not yet read the book – I just picked it up from the library yesterday. [I did notice (in a little pre-read flip) that the novel contains a moment of some family relevance: the protagonist is a witness to the historic landing of King George IV at Leith in 1822. A direct ancestor of mine, John Macfie, was the senior Magistrate of Leith at the time, and the first to greet the King when he alighted that day.] The piobaireachd presence in the book centers on the tune already mentioned, and bundles it together with the long-lost manuscript of Joseph MacDonald.
The author, Peg Kingman is a piper herself (not surprisingly) who also happens to be an ex-tea merchant. Not a lot of those around, I suppose. You can hear an interview with her by Rick Kleffel on his podcast Agony Column. So I now have music for two piobaireachds specifically written to be part of novels in just the past few years. I’ve discovered a whole new genre, and the Piobaireachd Society is blissfully unaware. I should add it to my categories – will there be more?