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Thirty beautiful short stories written for Christmas sit within the pages of this book. George Mackay Brown (1921-1996) from Orkney, wrote these tales during the 1970’s and 80’s, and yet they somehow sit outside of time. As William S. Peterson says in the introduction: “Some of them are set in the ancient or medieval world; others seem to be taking place in the early twentieth century. Always, however, he insists upon collapsing the dissecting between the present and a shadowy past…”. Sometimes Christmas is obvious, while at others there is just a whisper as they sit within the Advent season, but these stories hold tradition, myth, childhood, family, and what it is to be human during this time of year. The wood and lino cuts are an additional treat. A story that is a particular favourite of mine is Dialogue at the Year’s End which sent a shiver of goosebumps cascading down my arms with the kiss of a fairytale, and brought a tear to my eye. Christmas Stories is the most lovely festive treasure, and would make a lovely stocking filler as it brings alive the human spirit and joy of Christmas.
George Mackay Brown was born in Stromness, Orkney, on 17 October 1921. He died there in 1996.
His many awards include a Society of Authors Travel Award, 1968; SAC Literature Prize, 1969; Katherine Mansfield Menton Short Story Prize, 1971; Hon. LLD from Dundee University, 1977; OBE, 1974; James Tait Black Memorial Prize 1987 (for The Golden Bird). He was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1994 for his novel Beside the Ocean of Time.
He grew up in fairly straitened circumstances as his father was unable to work through illness. Mackay Brown himself suffered from tuberculosis as a young man. In his twenties he worked as a journalist on the Orkney Herald, but at the age of 30 he left Orkney to study at Newbattle Abbey College, near Edinburgh, where he met Edwin Muir, who was Warden at the time, a meeting that had a profound influence on him.
He left behind him an extraordinary body of work: novels, short stories, poetry, journalism and even two operatic collaborations with Peter Maxwell Davis.
Christmas Stories gathers together all the short stories that he wrote each Christmas for The Herald and/or The Tablet during the 1970s and early '80s. Some have been published in other collections, some here for the first time. But every single one of them is a finely crafted jewel, every one of them a resonance of that totally original voice that can only be that of Mackay Brown.
The book includes wood and lino cuts John Lawrence and Rosemary Roberts.
His first book of poems "The Storm" is also published by Galileo, with an introduction by Kathleen Jamie.
Publication date: 29/10/2020
Publisher: Galileo Publishers
|Publication date:||29th October 2020|
|Author:||George Mackay Brown|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Shorter Reads,|