Greenvoe

By George Mackay Brown

Introduction by Ali Smith

Format: Multiple Formats

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

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Greenvoe, the tight-knit community on the Orcadian island of Hellya, has existed unchanged for generations, but Operation Black Star requires the island for unspecified purposes and threatens the islanders' way of life. A whole host of characters - The Skarf, failed fishermen and Marxist historian; Ivan Westray, boatman and dallier; pious creeler Samuel Whaness; drunken fishermen Bert Kerston; earth-mother Alice Voar, and meths-drinker Timmy Folster - are vividly brought to life in this sparkling mixture of prose and poetry.

In the end Operation Black Star fails, but not before it has ruined the island; but the book ends on a note of hope as the islanders return to celebrate the ritual rebirth of Hellya.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 6 Jun 2019
SKU 9781846975059-grouped
Number of Pages 256

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Press Reviews

'a poetic, distinguished and totally delightful Orcadian story... full of humour and sensitivity and of the unsentimental poetry of raw experience'

'A precise, poetic and dazzling writer'

'Fine delicate prose'

'Brown is as connected to the world as any of us. He has retreated to a point where he can see the world in an internal reflection, a very clear and penetrating simplification that he could never have achieved in the midst of the hurly-burly' 

'He transforms everything by passing it through the eye of the needle of Orkney'

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