Orkney – Amy Sackville


This book was an Amazon ‘deal of the day’. I’ve become quite addicted to checking (usually just after midnight) and sometimes I just like buying a new book. This has of course done my TBR list no favours. Still it’s a relatively harmless vice (ebooks tend to be cheap).

This book may have cured me of the habit.

Orkney is the story of a married couple who arrive on an Orkney island for their honeymoon. They are a strange couple because there’s forty years difference in their ages. He is an almost-retired English professor who expected to end his days single and not discontented among his books. She was a student and has some strange attraction to the north and the sea.

The book follows their two-week stay on the island, with a few flashbacks to their earlier life.

This is a short book – 61,000 words – and yet I struggled to finish it. In fact I put off reading other books because I was determined to finish it first but was finding it hard going. This is actually the exact opposite of The Guiding Principle for this year but in my defence:

  • I have abandoned a few books and I felt like I needed to finish one
  • it was short and that kept tempting me to just finish it in a day or so
  • I went through a period of not feeling like reading so I may as well not be reading a book I didn’t enjoy as one I did (but might remember with sadness for other reasons)

So no, I didn’t enjoy it. It’s not that it’s a bad book. I think that it does something I’m not that interested in. Despite the shortness of the book, the story is even shorter. The bulk of the bulk is about evoking a sense of place, a tone. There is a dreamy, ghostly, ethereal quality to the writing. I can imagine some people reading it and just soaking in the images the prose creates and loving it. For me, and this is as much a deficiency in me as anything, it was a book in which not much happens. And what does happens is rather melancholy.

Nevertheless this is my blog and this review is my impression of the book.

5/10 – well written but not for me.

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