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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply beautiful
`Orkney' by Amy Sackville is an odd story skilfully crafted and emotionally draining. It is essentially about the effects of obsession. Richard who narrates is beguiled with his much younger wife. He wants to possess her both physically and mentally. Because of the forty years age difference Richard worries that she will have a life one day separate from him. The young...
Published 23 months ago by sarah J

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Orkney
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...
Published 22 months ago by Keen Reader


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Orkney, 21 Mar. 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Orkney (Hardcover)
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply beautiful, 11 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Orkney (Hardcover)
`Orkney' by Amy Sackville is an odd story skilfully crafted and emotionally draining. It is essentially about the effects of obsession. Richard who narrates is beguiled with his much younger wife. He wants to possess her both physically and mentally. Because of the forty years age difference Richard worries that she will have a life one day separate from him. The young woman (whose name is never revealed) is an unearthly, ethereal creature with strange silvery grey flowing hair. She is fascinated by the might and power of the sea- at night she dreams of being engulfed by it (she cannot swim), during daylight she wanders the shoreline or stares out into the horizon. Newly married they are honeymooning in a small cottage. Richard is on sabbatical working on his opus a book about enchantment and folklore observing his wife she recalls to him many of the women that he is writing about `she is Protean, a Thetis , a daughter of the sea, as shape-shifting goddess who must be subdued `. Instead of working he glazes out at his wife framed by the window.
In many ways `Orkney' and the sea is also a central character. There are long beautifully rendered passages minutely observing the shifting landscape as the waves ebb and flow. The narrative when describing the changing light and colour is pure and lyrical. I can almost hear the roaring of the sea and see the changes in the skyline. I liked the way the landscape echoed the story of the couple. As his behaviour towards her becomes more and more possessive the elements change, a mighty storm erupts and the sea appears in his dreams as well. Daylight becomes shorter and nights lengthen and we sense the unsettling nature of their relationship. They spend evenings together drinking whisky and she relates ancient tales of mermaids and Selkies.
The story is only told by Richard and it did occur to me several times that Richard had lost grip on reality that what he was relating may only exist in his mind. I felt that the line between fiction and reality was blurred.
Brilliantly written `Orkney' is an excellent read to savour, clever and finely constructed by a really talented Writer.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious, poetic but ultimately awful, 25 May 2013
By 
Kay Fitzgerald "obsessive reader" (Seaford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orkeny (Kindle Edition)
Let's cut to the chase - the beginning promises much, the prose is a delight and the plot draws you in. I had an increasing fear that it was going to be all style and no substance and I was right. I won't give away the ending, other than to say it is so obvious that you read on because there is bound to be a twist. There isn't. Read it if you are content with dreamy, atmospheric writing and little else.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, Lyrical and Beguiling, 7 Feb. 2013
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Orkney (Hardcover)
A beautifully presented book, 'Orkney' is the second novel from Amy Sackville, whose debut novel: The Still Point won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. This second novel, is a compelling and haunting story, first-person narrated by Richard, a university professor who, at sixty years of age, marries one of his students, an ethereal, white-skinned, silver-haired beauty, almost forty years his junior, whose name we never learn. For their honeymoon, Richard's wife asks him to take her to a remote island in Orkney, a strange choice, he feels, for a romantic autumn holiday, but deeply and obsessively in love with his young wife, Richard is happy to comply with her wishes. And so they arrive in Orkney and stay in a comfortable, old farmstead, spending their days exploring the coastline and gazing out to sea - or at least our heroine does, for Richard, who is on a sabbatical from his university, spends part of his days researching and writing an academic book on enchantment. In the evenings, Richard cooks for them both and they drink wine or whisky sitting by the fire, telling each other stories, before retiring to bed to make love. However, neither of them sleep entirely well because our heroine has vivid and frightening dreams, where she imagines she is in peril from the encroaching sea. As the days pass, Richard increasingly asks himself why his wife spends so much time wandering along the almost deserted shoreline and gazing out across the waves, when her dreams reveal a horror of drowning; and, as their honeymoon continues, he finds his thoughts continually returning to the enigma of his wife's history - where does she come from? Why did she choose this remote northern island? Where does she go to when she is not with him? And what is it that lures her relentlessly to the sea? And then there is her absent father - what really happened to him?

Exquisitely written using lyrical, sensuous language, evocative of the flow and cadence of the sea, this is an intense, beguiling and unsettling read, where the author deftly conjures up for the reader, the beauty and bleakness of her characters' surroundings and feelings. Interestingly, Amy Sackville has expressed her admiration of Virginia Woolf's stream of consciousness style writing, and Sackville's narrative does have some similarities; however this author has her own unique voice and I look forward to listening to more of that voice in the future.

4.5 Stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "...nothing left of her but an old man's sigh...", 18 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Orkney (Hardcover)
Yes it's beautifully written but I struggled to finish it which I didn't expect to at all because I loved 'The Still Point.' For me, the problem was with the lack of narrative. I'm not entirely sure I believed in the relationship of Richard and his wife. The single voice of Richard was very oppressive and limiting. I felt the novel needed another viewpoint. Not entirely sure what happened at the end and felt very dissatisfied. Didn't feel either that the myths being interwoven in to the story really worked. They reminded me of a marvellous story teller: Cat Weatherill who does a session on similar sea stories which is absolutely brilliant.
[...]

Still a writer to watch though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pointless, 6 May 2013
By 
Mrs. S. I. Bourne "Sally" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orkeny (Kindle Edition)
This has to be one of the strangest books I have ever read. The style of writing was its only redeeming feature and made me think I must persevere with it, that some interesting event must surely occur at some point, but by the time I reached 90% I realised that was not going to happen. No plot, characters who never really came to life, a bizarre ending. I have never been to Orkney, but I did not feel there was any sense of place, despite the endless descriptions of the sea. I understand the author has written another book, "The Still Point". Perhaps the title of this one should have been "No Point". I bought this as a kindle daily deal for £1.39 and feel it was overpriced. The cover on the paperback edition looks to be the best thing about it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment, 12 May 2013
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This review is from: Orkeny (Kindle Edition)
I didn't enjoy the style of writing and felt that there was over use of descriptive words and phrases. The story didn't amount to much and I was very disappointed by the ending.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dreary!, 18 May 2013
By 
C. Doughty - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orkeny (Kindle Edition)
I persevered with this book to the end, thinking surely something interesting must happen soon - otherwise why would anyone have bothered to publish it. No such luck! Unless I am extraordinarily dense this novel consists almost entirely of a young woman looking out to sea and an older man gazing out at her. Some elements of fairy story, some whisky drinking, several bad dreams - that's about all. I really wish I hadn't bothered.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swan Song by the Seashore, 15 Mar. 2013
By 
Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Orkney (Hardcover)
Do consider buying this in hardback, as 'Orkney' is such a pleasure to hold and read, the cover pictures softly beguiling and magically setting the mood.

Rich and emotive, lyrical and literary, Amy Sackville composes her work with astounding maturity. She gets right inside the mind of her sixty year old professor Richard; he's in over his head, enraptured by his nearly forty years younger student, now his new wife. A fortnight's honeymoon for this apparently ill matched couple on a remote Orkney island begins in ecstasy, becomes obsessive and dark, as the wraith like, never named, young woman settles into changing and reforming as she spends more and more time by the sea. Each chapter is a day of this sojourn, paced quietly as the tension builds.

Full of fable, wonderful language, clever conversation and passages of exquisitely described nature and landscape, this writing could be coming from any time, so much so that when they went shopping and bought Hellman's Mayonnaise it seemed weird.

This is not a crime story; it's difficult to define a genre, more of a mystical romance, an essay on doomed desire and the pull of unseen forces. Sometimes I wondered if it went on a bit but the richness of the narrative always rewards. I was sorry not to be allowed more information; there is a mystery, which is sadly never solved.

A treasure of a book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant novel, 1 Mar. 2013
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This is a very special book written with attention to the sensitivity of the relationship between the couple and also to the natural environment of Orkney
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Orkeny
Orkeny by Amy Sackville
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