Michael Wood writes:

About a third of the way through his first book, The Missing, Andrew O’Hagan pauses over a perception he thinks his readers may find ‘a bit surprising’. It’s an intricate moment, since he thinks we are going to be surprised at the surprise he is describing. He is telling us that people who moved from Glasgow to the Scottish New Towns springing up in the 1960s hadn’t expected to take so much of the old city with them: ‘the older habits, the darker tints’. Why hadn’t they? Because they didn’t want to. Because they believed in new things, and thought they could get a severance from the old.

(LRB 5 June 2003)

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