Compass of Youth
John J Lavin's first novel, set in Edinburgh
First edition, first printing. Hardback in dustwrapper. 18.5 × 12.5cm, 192pp.
From the dustwrapper, "The pivot of this remarkable first novel is 'The Square', a small group of buildings round a fountain in the heart of a tenemental wilderness in the East End of Glasgow. It is portrayed through the eyes of a man looking back on the youth which he spent in this miniature world—on the fascinating and motley set of characters which peopled it and gave it a raw, vigorous life... In sharp contrast to the modern fashion for depicting poverty in terms of bitterness and despair, Mr Lavin, while writing with all the realism born of firsthand knowledge, draws from his characters a humour and vitality which is the reflection of their lives. It is a bittersweet idyll, punctuated by the apocalyptic thunderings of the eccentric 'Professor', the escapades of young Tam Reevie, the teacup readings of Mrs Young, the tragedy of her son Rab, the football hero, and Rachel, his girl; and, later, the crude comedy of work at the Sehy Tannery, down the road".
A readable copy in good, basic shape. There is a slight lean to the spine and the wrapper had been taped to the pastedowns leaving cellotape marks to both wrapper flaps and pastedowns, with some offsetting. The book lacks the ffep and is tanned to the edges but the main body of text is in good order.