The Magic Flute

By Alan Spence
The Magic Flute



The story of four boys growing up in Glasgow before the days of flower power had penetrated the harsh realities of inner-city life. It portrays the idealism and bigotry of the era between the assassinations of Kennedy and Lennon.

Year of Publication


The poet Norman McCaig may have coined the term Zen Calvinism, but it the Glaswegian born Spence who exemplifies it. This story of four young men's interconnected lives takes in the counterculture of psychedelia and spirituality and the establishment of the army and the twisted orthodoxies of sectarianism, in limpid, graceful language. Spence has a startling capacity for empathy, seen to aching effect here. -- Stuart Kelly

Author Biography

Alan Spence is a Scottish writer and is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen,where he is also artistic director of the annual WORD Festival. He was born in Glasgow, and much of his work is set in the city.