The Other Landscape Paperback – 1 Mar 1998
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From the Back Cover
The central character of this complex novel is Menzies, a musical genius, who, after the agonies of a personal tragedy, questions the very meaning of existence. His emotional turmoil is seen through the eyes of a Scottish anthropologist returning to the Highlands and able to observe the life he finds there at two levels, the tangible and obvious level and 'the other landscape' beyond it.
Tensions between the local community and the outsiders at the Hotel - separate groups to both of which the anthropologist sometimes belongs - form a sub-plot of 'two cultures in conflict'. The action, both deeply tragic and ironically humorous, takes places against the backdrop of the remote coastal Highlands where the influence of nature and Celtic tradition propel the protagonists to their destiny.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
"I came among the men and I saw the heaving boat. She was small and the two figures on the oars were slowly bending toys. They were pulling her to sea, with her nose just off the wind and Dan on the inside heavy oar. When the gust hit her the oars stopped and when its vicious whine passed she was closer in. Dan was striving to gain seaway sidewise like a crab in order to open the channel. Perhaps he had thought he would open it wide enough to work across the channel and so come under the lea of the island. He would never do that now. A hellish gust drove us back and then I heard Sam Mor roar. Because of the treachery of the wind near the cliff-head Charlie had been all but sucked over. By the grace of chance he had got a handhold and crawled back. Sam Mor cursed him for a young fool.
"When I got to my feet again she looked utterly helpless in the wallowing white-smitten seas....." from p.276
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For those familiar with the Highlands at that time, the value of the book is its masterful storytelling and suspense and the philosophical nuggets, even if the setting would now seem historical given recent changes. For those not familiar with the place and the people, it may take more effort to follow the allusion and the impressionistic sketches which he draws (a glossary for non-Scots is missing). The effort is worthwhile if one wants to understand the background to northern Scotland today.
For those familiar with the Highlands at that time, the book will read like a nostalgic ride into the past given the radical changes which have taken place in the meantime. For those not familiar with the place and the people, it may take more effort to follow the allusion and the impressionistic sketches which he draws (a glossary for non-Scots is missing). The effort is worthwhile if one wants to understand the background to northern Scotland today.