Alexander McCall Smith explains in his introduction to his book, Dream Angus, that myths about Angus are “really about dreams and about love…” “Angus is a giver of dreams, an Eros, a figure of youth.” “…he represents youth and the intense, passionate love that we might experience when we are young but which we might still try to remember as age creeps up. Age and experience might make us sombre and cautious, but there is always an Angus within us — Angus the dreamer.”
The one book I took on our road trip last week was Dream Angus. I didn’t end up reading much on the trip. The landscapes we drove through completely captured my imagination, so my focus was not on reading. But I carried this little book with me everywhere I went because these stories about Dream Angus from Celtic mythology were delightful.
Joseph Campbell once said that “Essentially, mythologies are enormous poems that are renditions of insights, giving some sense of the marvel, the miracle and wonder of life.” Alexander McCall Smith is a wonderful storyteller, and in this book he took the traditional story (there’s even a traditional Scottish lullaby about Angus), and explored the myth in modern settings. The stories alternate between the retelling of the Angus myth itself, and the appearance of the spirit of Angus (the importance of dreams and love) in modern experiences. I enjoyed his exploration.
For those who love myth, this book is one in a lovely series on mythology from Canongate. I look forward to reading more of them.