A touching tale of family secrets

Brian Johnstone
Brian Johnstone

Fife-based author and poet, Brian Johnstone is set to release his latest book this week.

‘Double Exposure’, explores the all-too-common yet profoundly affecting experience of discovering previously unknown siblings and relatives.

Two revelations, each coming to light 20 years apart following the deaths of his father and mother, prompted Brian Johnstone to turn a poet’s eye on his 1950s childhood and explore his parents’ lives before and during the Second World War.

His double set of discoveries lead him to encounter relatives both forgotten and unknown, to free an elderly cousin from the burden of a secret kept for a lifetime, and to forge an enduring relationship with the half-sister he never knew he had. 
In a memoir sure to resonate with baby-boomers and anyone who has lost and found unknown relatives, Brian ponders why he was never entrusted with the truth and vividly evokes a post-war upbringing, under whose conventional surface so much was hidden.”

Brian said: “Far from being the almost ubiquitous ‘misery memoir’, and equally not a quest memoir, the book is more a memoir of affectionate bafflement.

“Although this will be my first prose book, I’m not deserting poetry.

“Indeed, the whole enterprise started with a poem. And each chapter has a poem embedded in the narrative, including seven unpublished and five that have only appeared in journals.

“I began planning this book as long ago as 2009, in my favourite writing retreat at the eastern end of Crete.

Brian continued: “It stayed very much in the planning stage as I completed my term as festival director of StAnza, but once I had stood down from that post I found I had enough time to begin writing at length.”

‘Double Exposure’ is availale now and will be officially launched in St Andrews on March 9.

Visit www.brianjohnstonepoet.co.uk/ for more details.