Thursday, 4 October 2018

Room with a View

Sea Room: An Island Life in the HebridesSea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides by Adam Nicolson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Nicolson is a man after my own heart, a man with an interest in almost everything. This tour de force not only covers geology, ecology, biology, history, theology, social policy and a whole lot more, but does it with an immediacy and skill that feels like the slap of a big, wet Minch wave on the side of a boat and the cold spray of the sea on your face. No romantic 'I-land'-ism, the book portrays the harsh realities of life as it must've been lived for pretty much everybody (at least, the majority) from the Bronze Age onwards: nasty, brutish, and short. But at the same time capable of transcending the awful everyday realities and gaining a deeper appreciation of the land and life passed on through generations in folk lore and poetry. So, why just four stars? Well, if I had one criticism (I do, and this is it) it's that the book struggles just a little on the last leg of the voyage, as if the tide turns against it and landing on the islands is suddenly very tricky. But we get there. We haul the boat ashore and get to the house with its rats and its sea room. And all it well. We hope.

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