The protagonist, an unnamed translator, completes a political assignment in South America.
Thirty years on from Argentina ’78, he returns to the fictional Scottish town of Breogan (somewhere on the Moray Firth) to write a book about football.
Countries of the World, is part fiction and part memoir, reflecting on a time when the protagonist was a boy obsessed by sport and distant events. Written from local and global, childhood and adult perspectives, Countries of the World is liberally sprinkled with journalistic essays and musings on the beautiful game – scars and all.
The World Cups of Argentina ‘78 and Spain ’82, and the intervening period, make up the bulk of the story as the narrator reminisces and reflects on some of the major events of the era concerning Britain and South America. These include: Thatcherism and the Falklands War, military coups and dictatorships, “The Disappeared”, as well as lesser known controversies like the SFA-sanctioned tour of Chile and Argentina in 1977.
This short novel explores human relationships, personal and national identity, and why sport, and football in particular, continues to shine brightly in spite of its shadows.