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Sackville, Amy (2014) Orkney. Granta Books, London, 224 pp. ISBN 978-1-84708-665-5. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:40596)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)


On a remote island in Orkney, a curiously matched couple arrive on their honeymoon. He is an eminent literature professor; she was his pale, enigmatic star pupil. Alone beneath the shifting skies of this untethered landscape, the professor realises how little he knows about his new bride and yet, as the days go by and his mind turns obsessively upon the creature who has so beguiled him, she seems to slip ever further from his yearning grasp. Where does she come from? Why did she ask him to bring her north? What is it that constantly draws her to the sea?

Item Type: Book
Additional information: There is an argument to be made for the novella as a distinct form: taut, focused, allowing for a formal patterning which might become too schematic over the course of a full-length novel. This book takes the landscape in which it is set as a formal model – it is a book about in-between spaces; the land, the sea and the sky are often indistinguishable in Orkney, and likewise fact, history, myth, story. The formal patterning of repetitive cycles, returning differently each time, is meant to echo the sea that the central characters look out on. The nouveau roman of Robbe-Grillet and Marguerite Duras offers a model of form, but in endeavouring to appeal to several layers of reading and of readership, this novel has not dispensed with all characterisation and plotting; instead the text raises questions about those aspects of itself; it is also intended to be a love story, a sad story. The novel is grounded in a phenomenological enquiry about the relationship between language, presence and absence; absences have been built into the text, into the texture of the prose, so that eventually the gaps, the white space on the page, come to signify. The epigraph from Cixous describes a story that ‘attacks itself and in the end gets away’: this is a novel that in the end evades its own author, who does not know the answer to the mystery with which it ends, except that the character who disappears ceases to exist in the form of text, and so ceases to exist entirely. ;
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English philology and language
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2021 15:37 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Sackville, Amy:
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