|George Mackay Brown, photo|
from Gunnie Moberg Archive
Stromness can be a pretty sleepy place. Sure, it does have a tourist draw being the seaport that connects summertime ferries laden with visitors in search of the Stonehenge-like stone circles, standing stones and other ancient sites that are dotted around the archipelago. However its Scandinavian remoteness - over ten miles north of Scotland proper across some rough waters - does limit the amount of people who will visit here. Despite living practically his whole life in a place where not a whole lot seemed to be going on, George Mackay Brown was never at a loss for content. These weekly observations, musings and essays were intended to be "light reading for quiet townsfolk on a Thursday afternoon". I find them to be mystical.
I've only read the first two volumes so far - Letters from Hamnavoe and Under Brinkie's Brae - so there's still a lot left to study. Plus I haven't even begun to dip into Mackay Brown's poetry, novels and other work, although I believe a fair amount of poetry was already on display in his weekly contributions to The Orcadian.