28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: Sea Room (Paperback)
Let me make my position clear. I'm a city person. I thrive on concrete and diesel fumes and multi-storey car parks. I would no more go and live on some rocky Hebridean island and take an interest in BIRDLIFE than row across the Atlantic in a tin bath. However... such is Nicolson's way with words, such is the quality of his writing and the sheer infectiousness of his enthusiasm that I not only read the book cover to cover, I actually considered taking a trip north. Maybe not yet. But one day. I want to check out those puffins.
Sea Room provides the reader with an entire magical world called the Shiant Islands. Their history is fascinating, out there among the Vikings, in among the lairds and feuds. Even the derivation of the various names is fascinating. Then comes Nicolson's own family involvement,(and the family we're talking about is that of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West). Naturally, the Hebridean locals don't welcome him with open arms, this foreigner, this city-dweller. Not initially. But Nicolson the writer isn't telling patronizing yarns about local yokels; this is a serious portrait of the frustrations and triumphs that attend any project involving people and ownership.
But most of all, Sea Room is poetry. It's beautifully written. Nicolson's language effortlessly evokes rocky coasts and crashing seas and air thickly textured with the calls of half a million puffins. I fell in love with those puffins. And the Hebrides aren't that far away, are they? Not too far to nip up one day and have a look before settling back in my own asphalt paradise?