Thursday, 20 June 2013

ONDINE, UNDINE, UNDONE: Amy Sackville Brings 'Orkney' to Orkney

When Richard, a sixty year old Professor of English, takes his slippery young bride to Orkney for their honeymoon, it is clear from the outset that she will slide away from him one way or another. 

Finn wife, mermaid, selkie, undine ...? the references to mythological creatures mount, the sea imagery swells with every page till the book is flooded with salt-watery light.

The cottage on an unnamed island in Orkney, where the honeymoon couple find themselves marooned, becomes the setting for the deeply psychological under-sea struggles of the professor and his wife.

For Orcadians, the attempt to use Orkney dialect words and phrases will doubtless raise a wry smile. But that irritation aside, the book builds in intensity and other-worldliness right up to the inevitable ending. There are echoes of Mary Shelley, of Wuthering Heights, of Possession, and there is a kind of heightened professorial language harking back to earlier times. The Orkney depicted also looks to a mythological past.

I'm partial to a bit of watery imagery myself; as a child my favourite story was Andersen's The Little Mermaid. And we are lucky to have the prize-winning author of Orkney come to these islands to talk about her book.



Wednesday 26 June
5.00 pm
MacGillivray Room
Orkney Library


Contact Orkney Library:

Tel: 01856 873166 

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