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Call of the Undertow by [Cracknell, Linda]
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Call of the Undertow Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'mysterious, deeply touching and makes enchantment feel very close to daily life' -- Sara Maitland

'...seductively pulls the reader into the deeper more dangerous currents of the human heart.Emotions ebb and flow along with the tide, in language clear and crisp as sea air.' -- Cynthia Rogerson

'Linda Cracknell's Caithness rises up off the page and takes form around us... Reading this book is like being there.' -- --Kirsty Gunn

'...a haunting tale that, like the landscape in which it's set, is perched on the cusp of the super­natural without ever quite toppling in.' -- The Herald

'This is a stark, atmospheric novel, with a strong sense of place: the wheeling sea birds, the endless ocean, and the drama of the big sky are all powerfully evoked, as is the sense of a small community where everyone knows everyone else's secrets.' --The Independent

'Every so often... The universe gifts you a book the reading of which becomes more important than anything else you could be doing at that moment... a reality that snares you so completely that for a few hours, it's the rest of the world that is shelved. Such a book is Call of the Undertow.' -- The Book Bag

'Cracknell managed to paint a picture of the coast so well that I found myself yearning for the sea. The setting was quite beautifully described in places. Matched with some harsh realities of life (which are true no matter where in the world that you are), Call of the Undertow is a quaint, but grounded, read that deals with loneliness and redemption.' --Subtle Melodrama

'The past and memory form the fulcrum in what is the first full length novel by one of Scotland s most exciting new talents. This atmospheric and finely crafted work certainly marks Cracknell as one to watch in 2014.' -- Waterstones Edinburgh

'An astonishingly beautiful novel with passages of exquisite nature writing, light-touch description and a well-paced narrative which moves around the human psyche like a restless wind.' -- Northwords Now

'...one of the most enchanting and magical novels of the year.' --Scots Whay Hae!

'...one of the most enchanting and magical novels of the year.' --Scots Whay Hae!

About the Author

Linda Cracknell writes short stories, drama for BBC Radio Four, and creative non-fiction. She won the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday short story competition, and was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book Award for her story collection Life Drawing (Neil Wilson Publishing, 2000) and the Robin Jenkins Literary Award for environmental writing. Her second story collection A Searching Glance was published by Salt in 2008. She was the recipient of a Creative Scotland Award in 2007 for a project linking walking and writing. Linda edited the anthology A Wilder Vein (Two Ravens, 2011) and has contributed wide range of other anthologies and magazines. She lives in highland Perthshire.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 597 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Freight Books (14 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FMZ6CNM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #284,906 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
"I was their only gift." So says Trothan Gilbertson about his parents.Trothan is a strange, friendless, 'otherworldly' nine year old boy, who meets Maggie,a cartographer who is trying to escape her past.
She has rented a cottage near Dunnet Head, the most Northerly tip of Scotland, seeking the isolation she craves for, but however hard she tries, their lives become strangely entwined.

Call of the Undertow is beautifully written. The story unfolds with an almost ethereal quality, which hooked me in from the first page. It is rich in descriptive phrases, evoking the solitary nature and ruggedness of the northern coast of Scotland.The characters are so believable that I was sorry when it was finished.
Brush up on your knowledge of folklore. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Beautifully written, this story of a woman relocating to the North of Scotland to escape her past is deeply touching. As a result of agreeing to help with a school project she develops a strange relationship with a mysterious young boy, Trothan.

This is a very emotional tale of a woman who has tried to run from guilt, something to which many can relate, only to find herself in a worse situation. Maggie's feelings about Trotham are moving and their relationship is wonderfully portrayed by Cracknell. Trothan is a very interesting character who raises a lot of questions for being so young with such intelligence and an independent spirit.

The landscape is very important to the story and the descriptions of this are enchanting.

A must-read.
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By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Mar. 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Linda Cracknell's first novel is the story of Maggie Thame, a cartographer who leaves her home in Oxford and her job to pursue a freelance career and a reclusive life in northern Scotland, near John O'Groats. Maggie is fleeing a tragedy and a broken marriage, and isn't looking for any kind of involvement. So she's very surprised when Trothan Gilbertson, a local boy who shares her passion for maps, befriends her after she's asked to give a talk at his school. Soon, Maggie and Trothan are spending quite a lot of time together - she bakes for him, and he shows her his elaborate illustrated maps, which encourage her to a more fluid and creative style in her own work. But gradually, Maggie becomes slightly uneasy about Trothan. What is his relationship really like with his parents? What does he want from her? When Maggie finds an old sealskin stuffed in her loft, the friendship begins to take a very surreal turn.

The first thing I'd say to anyone reading this book is to read some Scottish folktales (particularly the ones about selkies) first. I didn't, and it was only when I read other reviews saying that the story was a modern folktale that I 'got' it. Once you understand this, the strangeness of Cracknell's novel makes sense. It is, in fact, a lovely exercise in magical realism, with stunning descriptions of the landscape of northern Scotland (though, talking to friends who've worked there, I'm not sure it's quite as beautiful as Cracknell portrays it) and beautiful writing about the sea. The fantastical elements also combine well with the human ones, such as Maggie's chats to Trothan, her friendship with Graham and her beautiful scene with his mother, Nora. Cracknell's also one of those writers who can make daily tasks such as baking bread seem magical - a real gift.
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Format: Paperback
The friendship between a cartographer and Trothan, a young boy, in rural Scotland makes for a novel with great emotional depth. Maggie has fled Oxford, carrying a great burden, seeking solace in a little village far from civilisation until events from her past and new present catch up with her. The book is beautifully written, with a seductive slow-burn style that invites the reader to linger over each sentence as the story unfolds.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Beautifully layered storytelling, combining a deep sense of place and understanding of human pain. The title tells you what it's about, the undertow of guilt, the undertow of different lives calling to us underneath the one we choose. The writing is both subtle and powerful, drawing the reader deeper and deeper into multiple worlds. There is nothing easy or formulaic about this book. A profoundly moving experience.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book . It is simply but beautifully told and evoked the landscape of Caithness powerfully. The prose seemed to ebb and flow like the sea itself. This is very clever writing without ever seeming to show off or be self conscious. It is a simple story of a traumatised woman who hopes to escape and forget and finds herself fascinated by her surroundings, finding an unlikely
friend in a child. This relationship is movingly portrayed. The landscape and sea glisten and linger in yoru mind.
You too will be drawn into this story as swiftly as the tide turns.
This is original writing that will stay with you long after you have finished reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was recommended this book by a friend who reviewed it in Northwords Now a few months ago. I bought it and read it and enjoyed it so much that I chose it for my local book reading club as our March selection.

Interestingly, on a first reading I would have given it 3, maybe 4 stars at most. It's well-written, some engaging descriptions of the location and the heroine's interaction with Trothan (the young boy). But the plot seemed a little unsure of itself at times. However, after reading it a second time it became apparent the novel is more subtle than I realised.

Without giving away too much of the plot, the story concerns Maggie (a cartographer) escaping to the remote North-Eastern corner of Scotland. She makes it her own Terra Incognita where days become 'empty white sheets'. Content with a reclusive life, Maggie is invited against her will to speak about her work to a class at the local primary school. Here she first comes across Trothan, a loner who seems the one most interested in her presentation.

The author creates a clever balance between the cast of characters and various other elements of the plot:
Maggie and Trothan - both seeming to be pulled between two worlds - both temporary visitors rather than 'stayers'.
Their fascination with maps and map-making - Maggie intent on showing what's 'important' - Trothan looking to record the mythological landscape of the area.
The Ranger and Trothan - both passionate and knowledgeable about the local environment - but Trothan the only one to react against those who are destroying the habitat and its natural resources.
Maggie and Trothan's mother - each carrying the loss of a child on their conscience - each burdened by their own guilty secret.
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