leamington books

by Peter Burnett

McX by Todd McEwen

McX by Todd McEwen


For the fun of it, and the sheer enjoyment of this great novel, I read McX by Todd McEwen in a live upload to YouTube on 4th August 2020.

This was really to mark the 30th anniversary of McX's publication, and it turned out to be a good decision. The reading took five and a half hours and was a most invigorating experience, and not the marathon I thought it would be. 

Published in 1990, McX became a favourite of mine and was for me without doubt the finest, most entertaining and most politically telling Scottish book of that decade

McX by Todd McEwen isn't as well known in Scotland as it could be and indeed as it should be, however, although there really is no accounting for the popularity and unpopularity of texts.

I did read these interesting comments however from the LA Times, which reviewed the novel at the time of its release:

"Some Scottish critics are not amused. To them, MacEwen is “This American . . . this outsider” who seems to have done for Scotland what Rushdie did for Islam. “McX” is the Caledonian equivalent of flag-burning. “Och, He disnae like us . . . He disnae like us.” Rabbie Burns’ desire--"Oh wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursels as others see us!"--is not for them."

Followed by this:

"“McX” is probably the best depiction of the modern Scottish character yet written. Here there’s more than enough to delight, and probably infuriate, anyone who loves Scotland or fine writing. As they say in Glasgow: “It’s pure deid brilliant!” 'Tis a pity most Scots will leave it unread. They’re the ones who’d profit most by the reading."

The live reading was watched by several people, and in the following month I edited it, adding some sounds and some music, and overdubbing parts that were lost to the internet connection and a microphone which failed for about ten minutes.

Here is the final, glorious, epic edit, the entire novel McX by Todd McEwen ... read in one loving breath.