|Sophie Cooke in Tam's Bookshop|
A small but perfectly formed audience showed great appreciation of her assured readings, backed as they were by a slide show of her own stunning photographs of mountains, sea and flowers.
Under the Mountain is a novel of love and guilt and the terrible, dangerous undercurrents of family relationships.
The Scottish Review of Books said of it: Sublime writing... Cooke is excellent on unspoken family tensions and her characters' psychological motivations always ring true with a density that recalls Virginia Woolf. Of the younger generation of Scottish writers being published now, Cooke is one of the best.
I agree. Her writing has a maturity and depth that many a more mature writer would envy.
Sheena Winter of Stromness Books & Prints, otherwise known as Tam's Bookshop, very kindly invited Sophie and me to the shop the day after her reading, so that I could record a brief interview with her. She even left us alone in the shop to do the recording, because we were embarrassed! That's customer service you don't see many places. You can hear the conversation here on SoundCloud.
After our interview, Sophie had time to kill before her flight, so we drove out to the Bay of Skaill on a bright, blowy afternoon and clambered over giant pebbles and a great bank of tangles, shoved up the beach by the recent big seas.
Sophie tells me she goes to China next week to give the keynote speech at an International Writers' Conference in Beijing.
Good Luck, Sophie! Come back and see us in Orkney sometime soon.