For many years George Mackay Brown wrote a weekly column in The Orcadian, and this book is the third of four selections from the column which have been published in book form. Larger than the other selections, it contains some 300 articles.
As well as literary subjects, he dealt with other matters such as everyday life and customs in Orkney, his own idiosyncratic approach to cooking, history, the days of the week, the months and seasons of the year, his likes and dislikes, boyhood, the mysteries of the universe -- in a word, whatever interested him that week.
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.
'Each essay is coloured by the "sounds and delicate pulsating of nature", the "astonishing weather", the "horizon hazy with haar", the autumn on a "wild raging slut of a day". Read this book and discover the poet, his sources and his muse. You won't be disappointed.'
-- The Scots Magazine
'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