This is the second book by this author, the first of which was The Still Point. I was not overly impressed with The Still Point, but wanted to give this book a go, as I love books set in and around Orkney and such isolated islands, such as Night Waking (Sarah Moss) and Island of Wings (Karin Altenberg), and The Solitude of Thomas Cave (Georgina Harding).
To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to make of this book. The story is narrated by a newly married older professor, who has married his young student. Together they go on honeymoon to a deserted Orkney island, a place that she has chosen to go. But she is terrified of the sea. While they are there, the husband, Richard relates events of the day, interspersed with remembrances of their meeting and courtship. It's obvious from the start that Richard seems to know very little of his wife, and she remains an enigma to him. But the story itself is not all that surprising to the reader. I found Richard somewhat naïve and ultimately perhaps a little bit annoying.
The writing is very emotive, very lyrical, scattered with literary references. But the story itself does not live up to the promise of the writing. Good, not great.