Beside The Ocean of Time

George Mackay Brown
Published by:
Flamingo, and imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Suitable for ages:
000 6548628

Everything about this book is great. The writing style is accomplished. It is poetic and interesting; its characters are worth knowing and spending time alongside; its themes are varied and wonderful. We learn history; we learn ethnography; and we enjoy doing it.

George Mackay Brown is a quality writer and young people will benefit from his books. This particular book is about a young boy growing up  on the remote Scottish island of Norday. However, we do not see the island and its inhabitants through the eyes of a boy. Rather, we see this boy through the eyes of various people in his community.

The Scottish islands actually are particularly good places to visit though able writing. That is for two reasons: firstly, there is no other good way to visit them. One cannot get an insider view just by going there, because these communities 9where they still exist) have been close-knit for many generations. Secondly, because the communities on these islands have been so small, constant and remote for many generations, they are like experiments in human nature. We can see a lot about people and communities that is lost in other places. Travel to the Orkney islands in the best possible way!

This book is a wonderful introduction to a great writer. It will give you many moments of satisfaction. The last few pages will bring you tears. An adult book that is good enough for young people.

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culture, humanity, childhood, Scotland

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