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Metadata for text 329
No. words in textN/A
Title Shrapnel
Author Caimbeul, Tormod
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 2006
Date Of Language 2000-
Publisher CLÀR
Place Published Inverness
Volume N/A
Geographical Origins Lewis
Register Literature, Prose
Alternative Author Name Norman Campbell; Tormod a’ Bhocsair
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 20.2cm x 14cm
Short Title Shrapnel
Reference Details NLS: PB5.206.562/9
Number Of Pages v, 175
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Shrapnel is in essence a thriller set in Edinburgh, and focuses upon the underbelly of the Scottish capital where crime, violence and vice are at the heart of the book. Campbell intersperses the Gaelic dialogue with Scots or Edinburgh dialect.
Norman Campbell, Tormod Caimbeul (Tormod a’ Bhocsair) was born on 7 October 1942 in South Dell, Ness, Isle of Lewis, third child to Aonghas Caimbeul (Am Bocsair, 1908-1949), from Swainbost, Ness, and Mary Murray (1909-1995), from South Dell. He attended Cross School and then the Nicolson Institute. Before entering the University of Edinburgh, he worked in factories such as Singers in Clydebank and around Glasgow, and also spent two years with British Rail in Edinburgh. After graduating in 1970, Campbell undertook teacher training at Jordanhill College of Education. He taught Gaelic and English in Glasgow at Penileee School, South Uist at Eochar School and a at Lionel School in Ness. He spent a total of four years as Writer in Residence, two with Comhairle nan Eilean and two from 1993 to 1995 at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in the Isle of Skye. He married Mary Jane MacKay and they had three childen: two sons, Seòras and Dòmnhnall Alasdair, and a daughter, Catrìona Lexy, who writes Gaelic fiction, poetry and drama, and is also active as a director and actor.
Campbell wrote in Gaelic as well as in English, both poetry and prose, and wrote a number of books for children and young adults, such as Uilleam Bàn agus an Iolaire (1977) and Deireadh an Fhoghair (1979) (see Text 30), his best known work. His last novel, An Druim bho Thuath, was published in 2011. His short stories appeared in three collections: Hostail agus Sgeulachdan Eile (1992), An Naidheachd bhon Taigh (1994), and Sgeulachdan sa Chiaradh (2015). Shrapnel has been recently adapted for the stage by Catrìona Lexy Chaimbeul and the company Theatre Gu Leòr. Campbell’s brother, Alasdair (Alasdair a’ Bhocsair), born in 1941, is also an author, both of novels and plays (see Text 11). Norman Campbell passed away on 2 May 2015.
Contents ​After a brief biographical sketch (p. i), follows the title page (p. iii), publication details (p. iv), a dedication (p. v), and then the main text appears, divided into 8 chapters.
Language The novel is written in a fluid idiomatic style containing sharp and witty dialogue.
There is frequent use of idiomatic phrasing such as: mar bu nòs (p. 10), air an robh broth buidhe na mì-stiùireachd (p. 10), cho fuar ris a’ phuinnsean (p. 11), Ann am marbhanachd na h-oidhche (p. 23), Ann an càinealachadh an latha (p. 24), Biodh sin mar a bhitheas mar a bhà (p. 66), Bha mo cheann na bhrochan (p. 69), dèan bun no bàrr dheth (p. 113).
There are frequent appearances of Scots and English words or phrases throughout the text, e.g.: all over the goddamn shop (p. 7), Away, ya pishpot, ya slag, ya grotty ould hoor, ya! (p. 20).
Frequent use of loan-words that have been Gaelicised, e.g.: doublar (p. 8), pinseil (p. 10), tiùb rubair (p. 11), plastaig (p. 12), sianagog (p. 19), nurs (p. 23), poileas (p. 23), tagsaidh (p. 36), tiona (p. 40), reacòrdair (p. 89), dustair (p. 133).
Frequent appearance of rare or unusual words, some of which might be unique to the Ness dialect of Gaelic, e.g.: cafach (p. 12), clàbadh (p. 13), faomadh (p. 13), fineach (p. 14).
English idioms appear occasionally, e.g: ’S cha bhiodh sinn a’ caitheamh tìde (p. 29), agus planaichean nach do phlanaig mi (p. 48), ged nach cuirinn mo lèine air a’ gheall (p. 59).
Occasional use of French, Italian, German, Irish and Latin phrases which appear sporadically throughout the text.

The language reflects the Gaelic dialect of Ness, Isle of Lewis.
Orthography The spelling conforms generally to the orthography of early twenty-first century. Acute and grave accents are subsumed in the grave accent only. Accents usually appear on capital letters.
Edition First edition.
Further Reading Black, Ronald I. M. (ed.), An Tuil: Anthology of 20th Century Scottish Gaelic Verse (Edinburgh, 2002: Birlinn), 584-92, 803-04.
Watson, Moray, An Introduction to Gaelic Fiction (Edinburgh, 2011: Edinburgh University Press).
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