The Summer Isles: A Voyage of the Imagination (Paperback)Philip Marsden (author)
A lyrical, highly evocative account of Marsden’s journey from Cornwall to a small Scottish archipelago, The Summer Isles resounds with colourful characters and poetic description. Mining a rich seam of Celtic mythology and romantic pagan history, this is mesmerising travel writing of the highest order.
In an old wooden sloop, Philip Marsden plots a course north from his home in Cornwall. He is sailing for the Summer Isles, a small archipelago near the top of Scotland that holds for him a deep and personal significance.
On the way, he must navigate the west coast of Ireland and the Inner Hebrides. Through the people he meets and the tales he uncovers, Marsden builds up a haunting picture of these shores - of imaginary islands and the Celtic otherworld, of the ageless draw of the west, of the life of the sea and perennial loss - and the redemptive power of the imagination.
The Summer Isles is an unforgettable account of the search for actual places, invented places, and those places in between that shape the lives of individuals and entire nations.
Publisher: Granta Books
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 280 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 21 mm
A truly remarkable writer - Robert Macfarlane
Magical - Guardian
[Marsden] writes beautifully... In these islands at the edge of the Atlantic, he finds a rich tradition of myth, poetry and ancient lore that still speaks to us across the gulf of time - Guardian
I loved The Summer Isles from page one... Like one of those doorways so popular in Irish myth [it is] a portal not just to other places but to other times... marvellous - Michael Kerr, Telegraph
A triumph... It is unlikely that a finer travel book will be published all year - Hugh Thompson, Literary Review
Marsden brings characteristic elegance and insatiable curiosity to bear on his voyage; we are whisked along as passengers, alternately enchanted by this unforgettable coastline and apprehensive of its treachery. Even the most dogged land lubber cannot fail to be exhilarated by these stiff salt breezes - Madeleine Bunting
The best book I've read on a sailing trip since Jonathan Raban's Coasting - Irish Independent
One of the most brilliant, imaginative and alluring travel books I have read in a long time - William Dalrymple ‘Books of the Year’, Wall Street Journal
By turns exhilarating and hauntingly poetic, this is a memorable book, full of reflection and wonder. Long after I'd finished reading it, part of me was still aboard Tsambika, peering into the distance, making out half-shapes, strange sea creatures, mythical kingdoms and snatches of ancient folk songs caught on the breeze... Sublime - Mail on Sunday
Beautifully written... As nail-biting as Conrad... Wonderful... Marsden is a subtle and elliptical writer. He never overstates and he is always doing more than it looks at first glance. So at the same time that this is both history and adventure, it is also a journey inward... [A book of] imaginative brilliance and precision... Marsden, more than anyone, understands that imagination, in its ability to conjure islands, is a solid thing - Elementum Journal
There is no better guide to the deep and dazzling meanings found on the western fringe of Europe than Philip Marsden - Patrick Barkham
Reading Philip Marsden's voyage is the only time in my life I shall want to be lost at sea. Shimmering, profound, and deeply mesmerizing - John Lewis-Stempel
Battling unforgiving weather and repairing his boat on the fly, he shares the myths, legends and songs surrounding these mystery-shrouded islands - Wanderlust
Thrillingly alive - National Geographic Traveller
Philip Marsden [is] one of Britain's great sea writers... a truly beautiful voyage through people and poetry as well as the sea - Marine Quarterly
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“The Summer Isles are actually in Scotland...”
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