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Of Stone and Sky (English Edition) eBook Kindle
After Highland shepherd Colvin Munro disappears, a mysterious trail of his possessions is found in the Cairngorm mountains. Writing the eulogy for his memorial years later, his foundling-sister Mo seeks to discover why he vanished. Younger brother Sorley is also haunted by his absence and driven to reveal the forces that led to Colvin’s disappearance. Is their brother alive or dead?
Set on a farming estate in the upper reaches of the River Spey, Of Stone and Sky follows several generations of a shepherding family in a paean to the bonds between people, their land and way of life. It is a profound mystery, a passionate poem, a political manifesto, shot through with wisdom and humour.
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Detalhes do produto
- ASIN : B08L6QV6YV
- Editora : Polygon (6 maio 2021)
- Idioma : Inglês
- Tamanho do arquivo : 3881 KB
- Leitura de texto : Habilitado
- Leitor de tela : Compatível
- Configuração de fonte : Habilitado
- X-Ray : Não habilitado
- Dicas de vocabulário : Habilitado
- Número de páginas : 376 páginas
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This complex, exquisitely written and meticulously-structured work covers almost a century. It deals with love, community, family, the legacies of the past; but also with alcoholism, tragedy, betrayal and loss. It’s immensely readable – and overflowing with grace.
Of Stone and Sky is a significant addition to Scottish literature, a book which gives and keeps on giving. Several Scottish novels use religious characters to explore the negative impact of Calvinism, but here there’s much more – a faith which is positive and creative.
The novel tells the story of Colvin (is there an echo of ‘Calvin’ in this name?) – a shepherd whose efforts to sustain his sheep farm are beset by struggles with the elements, the landowner, and shadows from the past. He disappears, and family and community struggle to cope with his loss.
In the following months 12 ‘signs’, Colvin’s possessions are found in different parts of the Strath and we, along with those who were left, puzzle over what they, and the place and manner of their finding reveal about the shepherd who has gone.
The novel’s richly-imagined characters include Agnes, Colvin’s mother – the sweetness of the old prayers she treasures haunts the book; Sorley, his younger brother, the returning prodigal; Alex, his sensitive, troubled son; Mo, his almost-sister whose past woundedness help heal family and community whether in pulpit or pub, who is called to lead her people to the Promised Land.
Speyside itself is a character and so, it seems to me is God the Three in One, seen in the natural beauties of the Strath, joy, music, the loveliness of lives meeting, and in hearts awakening to humility and hope.
Some characters choose to go ‘onwards and upwards, pursuing materially-focussed routes to satisfy inner yearnings. Others go ‘higher up and deeper in’ to the Narnia of the Cairngorm peaks.
Says Mo of her coming to the ministry ‘the call never left me, the Presence. Not so much a booming great voice or a pillar of fire, but more like a stray bird that turned up and wouldn’t leave…..So I listened and followed its sweet song.’
Mo’s church stands on a knoll which is one of the ‘thin places’ where the veil between heaven and earth is ‘slight as a bees wing.’ A woman, not a believer, sits in deep peace by the window with the Celtic cross and finds herself praying. And I think Merryn’s story is a thin place. As we read, we may see the Good Shepherd coming to meet us.
The Cairngorms and surrounding area are the background constants to this complex and exquisitely written novel. Almost a modern Norse-style saga at times, it spans almost a century of a family’s life, loss, trauma, happiness and touches on a multitude of other human emotions.
Some characters are distasteful, others sorrowful, some are quirky and some seem to cut very close to my own experiences. All are interesting.
Merryn writes in a style I can only describe as an erudite conversationalist. You want to read more, to be drawn in by her poetical writing, to learn more about the family, and the disappearance of one of the family stalwarts. The brutal reality of highland farming over the last century is also key to the story.
The ending simply leaves you wondering - but perhaps that the point; it’s an enigmatic story and is beautifully written. I’d encourage other readers to do as Merryn entreated me to do - and read it in the Cairngorms, which provides her with her inspiration.
Told in an interesting style, with two different, but connected, first-party narratives, and a smattering of third party descriptives, this is a tale of a Highland family and community in modern times, but shaped and imprisoned by their history, to an extent. It's well researched by an author who lives and breathes that community, and the story unfolds at a pace that is unhurried, but not slow. There are twists and turns, and an ending that I felt was just right, but might not suit others.
Maybe it helps that I love the Highlands, and love spending days just wandering and sleeping out on the hills there, but that is certainly not a prerequisite to enjoying this book. I was reminded of novels I'd enjoyed by Tim Pears and Jonathan Coe, tales of family strife and resolution, but with a richer descriptive angle and sense of time and place.