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Beside the Ocean of Time

9781904598299

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George Mackay Brown's 1993 Booker Prize contender, set on the ficticious Orkney island of Norday.

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By George Mackay Brown

George Mackay Brown's 1993 Booker Prize contender, set on the ficticious Orkney island of Norday.

Thorfinn Ragnarson is the daydreaming son of a tenant farmer, avoiding both work and school despite the best efforts of family, friends and neighbours.

Instead, the boy dreams up elaborate historical fantasies.

In a series of intriguing chapters, George Mackay Brown transforms Thorfinn into a Viking traveller, a freedom-fighter for Bonnie Prince Charlie and the colleague of a Falstaffian knight who participates in the Battle of Bannockburn.

He is then hurled into the future as Thor, who returns to the Orkneys as an adult and recalls his internment in a German POW camp, where he discovered his writing skills.

Thor also reflects on the history of Orkney, the links between dreaming and writing and the whims of fate.

In this beautiful and haunting novel, Brown's lyrical descriptions and gift for local colour capture, as ever, the myth-drenched magic of his native islands.

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