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Steve Savage Publishers Ltd
CoverUnder Brinkie's Brae

George Mackay Brown
sample extract

also by George Mackay Brown:

The First Wash of Spring
Letters from Hamnavoe
Rockpools and Daffodils

about George Mackay Brown:

Interrogation of Silence
isbn 9781904246077 rrp 7.50 paperback 224 pages

For many years George Mackay Brown wrote a weekly column in The Orcadian, and this book is the second of four selections from the column which have been published in book form. Under Brinkie's Brae was published in hardback in 1979, and this is the first paperback edition to appear.

'It would gladden the hearts of bureaucrats the world over,' wrote GMB, 'if the earth took exactly one hundred days to revolve round the sun. But to the everlasting joy of trees, waters, children, animals and artists, the number of days in a year is 365¼. And that can never be tampered with. Also the moon performs her marvellous ballet in 28 days.

'But I wouldn't put it past them to make, some time soon, a ten-month year. What could be more disordered than the present calendar with its twelve months of varying length?...'

These selections from George Mackay Brown's long-running column offer more of his honest opinions, perceptive descriptions and evocative writing. Managing to be both matter-of-fact and highly individual, they are a breath of fresh air from Orkney.


George Mackay Brown was born in Stromness in 1921. He was at Newbattle Abbey College when Edwin Muir was Warden. He read English at Edinburgh and did post-graduate work on Gerard Manley Hopkins. He was known for his poetry, short stories, plays and novels, and won many prizes including in 1987 the James Tait Black prize for his novel The Golden Bird. He died in 1996.

'The delight lies in the sheer spontaneity of the exercise; the not knowing what will come next ... these disparate musings are yoked gently together by the sheer craftsmanship of the writer, over whose plainest pronouncements there is a wash of lyricism, insistent and muted as the sea. They are united too by their Orcadian themes, which turn out to be universal. Like Hardy or Faulkner or Burns, Mackay Brown illustrates the truth that you don't achieve universality by tearing up your roots and stamping on your sources.'
-- Christopher Rush, Slightly Foxed