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Beside the Ocean of Time

Beside the Ocean of Time

Thorfinn, a crofter’s son living on the remote island of Norday, is a dreamy boy: ‘idle and useless’ according to his teachers. Bored by school, happier wandering the shores of his island home, he escapes into the limitless world of his imagination. Closing his eyes in the 1930s he dreams of crossing the ‘fish-fraught’ ocean with Viking raiders. Falling asleep to the monotonous tones of a history lesson he finds himself running from the press gang into the arms of a beautiful seal-maiden who longs to return to the sea. War and adventure, the struggles of great men and the everyday toil of the fisherfolk, Thorfinn dreams the sweep of Norday’s history, its life and its inevitable death.

About the Author

George Mackay Brown

George Mackay Brown was born in October 1921 in Stromness, the Orkney Islands.  From his youth he was affected by tuberculosis.  Apart from a spell as a mature student at the University of Edinburgh and Newbattle Abbey College, he spent most of his life in his native islands.  They provided him with inspiration for his poems, short stories and novels. 

His books include The Golden Bird: Two Orkney Stories (1987), winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and Beside the Ocean of Time (1994), shortlisted for the Booker Prize and judged Scottish Book of the Year by the Saltire Society.

His autobiography, For the Islands I sing, was published shortly after his death. Mackay Brown died in 1996.

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