A Time to Keep and Other Stories

George MacKay Brown, Author Vanguard Press $0 (306p) ISBN 978-0-8149-0929-4
This celebration of his native Orkney Islands (""the islands of the whales'') by the Scottish writer George Mackay Brown takes the form of stories characteristic of a Celtic people. The sea is ever-present; the land yields grudgingly to the crofters; yet the beauty of the rhythm of sea and land is reflected with a lyricism derived from tales spun by peat firesides, passed on in the oral tradition of the islanders. Brown's love for the islanders, for the contrariness that sparks some of their ancient narratives, is redolent in the title story, a bleak romance wherein a newly widowed fisherman-father croons to his newborn son, ``Fight on the side of life. Be against ministers, lairds, shopkeepers. Be brave always.'' ``A Calendar of Love'' amusingly chronicles the vying of a Bible-thumping crofter and a carousing fisherman for the hand of Jean, the tart-tongued pub keeper who is with child. The independence of country people, their legends, rituals and prejudices stir the imagination of a modern writer who, in these 19 stories, allows us to enter the dwellings of the uncelebrated in a most rewarding way. (January 15)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-7195-6022-4
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-904598-65-7
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