From Publishers Weekly
McEwen, who revealed the beastliness of Boston in his first novel, Fisher's Hornpipe , now casts a merciless comic eye on Scotland. McX, the protagonist, has an "inescapably Scottish job and existence," working as a gauger in the Weights & Measures Department, taking consolation at the Auld Licht pub, his home-away-from-home, "temple and mausoleum." His Scotland is rife with taboos and fish-and-chip buses, a land where "men love their gardens more than each other" and women endure men's silences and rages. Scots, as depicted here, are obsessed with precision, immune to curiosity, addicted to wretched food in crusty pots. When McX falls in love with Siobhan, their lusty lovemaking gives way to marriage, something "sad, and different." McEwen's spry experimental prose is like Kafka grafted onto Beckett. If the joke wears thin, McX is still a wickedly, scathingly funny romp through moors and mores, an uproarious lament.