OF THE ROAD is a fictional book about Scotland. Twelve months of the calendar.
The book takes Cal through different pivotal and symbolic situations and relationships. Cal is forced to face up to himself and his own alcoholism.
This is set against the sheer diversity of Scotland where the margins are forced to eke out a living in the face of alienation. This is the status quo of Scotland but is perversely not where we come from. This creates a dichotymy in the Scots character where we are left with a puzzle. Not only, where do we come from, but also how we have chosen to communicate ourselves.
Statistically Scotland holds the dubious distinction of being the most violent culture of any developed nation in the western world. Also the most almost loving.
It is shameful that we all to some extent play a part in this. The novel examines this in the character of Cal and the strands of the relationships that he forms.
The book is not without humour and this a part of the Scots character that is bleakly explored.
The central theme that vividly repeats itself in this book is the motif of hope. We are standing at the crossroads. Scotland Politically is in catharsis and in the characters of OF THE ROAD the actions of the characters have a strong political meaning. It suggests a fairer benign alternative to the mistake that some Scots make when metaphorically they grasp the thistle.
Cal discovers that in Sotland it is hard to be a man. Where you have to earn the repect of other men. Some of these men of course are wise but others are numbed into the acceptance of a limited potential which is merely passed on. Opaquely at that.