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Brown, George Mackay The Island of the Women and Other Stories , London: John Murray, 1998

First edition. Grey cloth, gilt Pagination: 309. In these six stories George Mackay Brown leads us back along the sweep of Orkney’s past and beyond even that to the remoteness of fable. As always he reveals the timelessness of the lived moment, and he finds the constants of island life, indeed all life, in the harvest of sea and land, the compulsions of voyage and homecoming, and a people’s need not only for doers but for idlers and dreamers as well.<P>The book is full of incident, of paradox and of a marvellous ability to enter the imaginations of others. A poor choice of suitor has consequences both natural and supernatural. To break a siege of the Broch of Gurness, unlikely champions come forward for single combat. Njalsay is seen through the eyes of a poor idiot laird whose people understand him as little as he them. A poet becomes laureate by embracing silence. A wanderer’s tales are the better for being conceived at home.<P>James Ferguson described George Mackay Brown as ‘a miniature northern Homer’. The heroic simplicity and vividness of his writing have never been more enthralling than here. Contents: The Island of the Women; The Fortress; The Lairds' Story; The Wanderer's Tale; Paddy Crowsnest and the Elements; Poet and Prince, A Fable. Book: merest hint of bumping to tail of spine, Fine, Jacket: unclipped, just a hint of edge creasing, VG+ (Book ref. 2924 )  £ 24.00

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