August 20th, 2015, limited-run, first edition hardback – SOLD OUT
October 3rd, 2015, paperback
January 25th, 2016, e-book (PDF, EPUB and MOBI/Kindle)
Scottish writer Aefa Mulholland travels around the U.S., persuading bemused Americans to teach her how to do things they consider stereotypically Scottish.
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When she moved from Scotland to America aged 19, Aefa Mulholland had never gone to a Highland Games, spoken Scottish Gaelic or played golf. Or worn a kilt or feather bonnet. Or thought about swapping the grumpy old tabby for a Scottie dog, gone Nessie-spotting or played the bagpipes. Or done so many of the things so often expected of Scots overseas. She did plenty of entertaining things growing up in Glasgow, but those antics and outfits tended not to feature tartan or make it onto postcards. Aefa’s Scotland was grittier. It was down-to-earth. It threw pizzas into deep-fat fryers. And she never felt it lacking… until now, 20 years later, when she realizes her Scottishness is fading.
Looking around, Aefa realizes she’s actually in the perfect place to become a better Scot, since all over America there are people fiercely committed to maintaining their Scottishness—playing bagpipes and golf, breeding Scottie dogs and gossiping away in Gaelic, whirling about doing Scottish Country Dances and donning the precise shades of tartan dictated by 18th-century Highland etiquette.
She sets out to shore up her Scottishness and face her fear of bagpipes and dread of organized social dancing, travelling from Florida to Washington State and New York City to Honolulu, meeting the kind, compelling and kooky characters that inhabit Scottish-America.
She struggles through a Scottish Gaelic immersion weekend on a ranch full of cats in Texas, plays golf on a rattlesnake-infested sand course in a trailer park in Arizona and is perplexed by the proliferation of cloaks and dragon puppets at her first Highland Games in Oregon. She visits Chicago’s Scottish Retirement Home to learn the secrets of “The Scottish Way,” has tea with Hawaii’s freshly elected Scot of the Year and is as confused as the passing New Yorkers by the annual Tartan Day Parade. She catches caber tosses, Scotch tastings and sheepdog demonstrations from the Pacific to the Mississippi, tries to claim Elvis for the Scots and finds herself deep in backwoods Georgia with a hundred Scottie dogs.
In every corner of the country she is met with warmth and kindness—and by perplexed Americans, confused as to why a Scottish-born Scot can’t recognize her clan colours or muster even a “Good Morning” in Gaelic.
From the early days of the quest till its final steps, Aefa explores what it means to be Scottish, what it means to be Scottish-American and what it means to be at home so far away from home.