Threads explores the dislocations and entanglements associated with colonialism and globalisation and the persistence of toxic masculine tropes in a globalised world.
The project was inspired by dissonances arising from first-hand experience working on an oilfield development offshore Angola 2002-2005 and further reflection on indigenous experiences impacted by those activities.
Threads follows the quest of two ‘innocent bystanders’ – Argentina and Willy – for restorative justice for the harms that have been done to them. With episodes ranging from Angola to Scotland to the USA, the story is both an Odyssey – a long journey home to authentic self-hood – and a Quest – to find and be acknowledged by the father-figure and instigator of harms: Ryker.
During my time in and associated with oilfield operations in Angola, I was interested in the lack of ‘narrative development’ in Anglo-American men between the publication of Heart of Darkness (Conrad 1899) and 2005. Whereas a rich post-colonial literature has been created out of sub-Sahel Africa since that time, there seemed no perspectival shift in the attitudes and interpretations of white ex-pats involved in the ‘project’ a century later.
Through revision and collaboration, it became apparent that a simple reprise of the narrative through the white male gaze would not reflect the shifts associated with late 20th c globalisation. The retelling had to also give voice to the indigenous perspective. This imperative was further emphasised through recent Black Lives Matter protests and debates and reflection on the meanings and responsibilities associated with the Middle Passage.
Heart of Darkness for the 21st century becomes, in Threads, a tragicomic narrative driven by the falling away of errors and delusions on the part of the protagonists.
Threads is a Scottish literary novel which embraces globalisation. It endeavours to reflect pre- and post-colonial perspectives and find harmonious resolution. It is grounded in a belief that Scots literature is the earliest Anglophone cadet literatures and seeks to forge a link to the some of the newest.