Beside the Ocean of Time

The Life of Sir John Malcolm (1769–1833)

by George Mackay Brown


Beside the Ocean of Time

Beside the Ocean of Time was Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1994

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Thorfinn Ragnarson is the daydreaming son of a tenant farmer, avoiding both work and school despite the best efforts of family, friends and neighbours. Instead, the boy dreams up elaborate historical fantasies of himself as a Viking traveller, a freedom-fighter for Bonnie Prince Charlie and the colleague of a Falstaffian knight who participates in the Battle of Bannockburn.

He is then hurled into the future as Thor, who returns to the Orkneys as an adult and recalls his internment in a German POW camp, where he discovered his writing skills. Thor also reflects on the history of Orkney, the links between dreaming and writing and the whims of fate. In this beautiful and haunting novel, Brown’s lyrical descriptions and gift for local colour capture, as ever, the myth-drenched magic of his native islands.

George Mackay Brown (1921–96) was one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished and original writers. His lifelong inspiration and birthplace, Stromness in Orkney, moulded his view of the world, though he studied in Edinburgh and later at Newbattle Abbey College. In 1941 he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and lived an increasingly reclusive life in Stromness, but he produced a regular stream of publications from 1954 onwards. These included A Calendar of Love (1967), A Time to Keep (1969), Greenvoe (1972), Hawkfall (1974), and, notably, the novel Beside the Ocean of Time (1994), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Book of the Year.

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ISBN: 9781846975103

Publication date: 01/05/2014

Format: Hardback (also available as an eBook)

Publisher: Birlinn Ltd

Stock status: Published

Categories: Birlinn/Polygon , Fiction