The Masked Fisherman

George MacKay Brown, Author
George MacKay Brown, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $22.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-7195-4700-3
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
A burned-out writer of thrillers seeks his ancestral roots as well as a new direction in Scotland's Orkney Islands. A ghost plucks a harp to pierce the gloom of a mansion oppressed by a tyrannical invalid woman. Brown, poet, novelist and short story writer ( Andrina ), blends past and present, folklore, history and a touch of the supernatural in these 21 carefully crafted tales. Most center on Orkney, capturing the isles' austere beauty, the daily rhythms of the fisherfolk and villagers whose pagan and Christian observances mark the cycle of the seasons. Yet this is no Eden. Snows and tempests are matched by the characters' rages, frustrations and ordinary problems. Although some of the stories are little more than sketches, the best provide flashes of illumination against a backdrop of wind, salt air, stars and the aurora borealis. (Jan.)
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