Butcher's Broom is Neil Gunn's epic recreation of the Highland Clearances of the nineteenth century, when great changes swept through the country and its people. Tapping into the essence of Gaelic experience, Butcher's Broom is the story of a community threatened with eviction, in order to make way for sheep. At the centre of the vel is the mysterious Dark Mairi, who embodies the spirit of ancient Highland culture. The sense of Gaelic community and tradition is captured, while the vel's characters exemplify what is most vital and lasting in mankind. This is among the most moving of Gunn's works and establishes the transcendent spirituality that would be so dominant in his later work.
NEIL M. GUNN was born in Dunbeath, Caithness in 1891, the seventh of nine children. His father James was a fisherman, and his mother Isabella was a domestic servant. Gunn left the Highlands to live with his sister and her family, and was educated privately, passing his Civil Service exams in 1907. He published short stories throughout the 1920's and his first novel The Grey Coast in 1926. He wrote several other novels, including The Green Isle of the Deep (1944), The Silver Darlings (1941) and his autobiography, The Atom of Delight, in 1956. He died in 1973.