“A haunting novel” about sex and obsession, set off the coast of Scotland and “full of otherworldly emotion and strange impulses” (Marie Claire).
A professor marries his prize student, a woman forty years his junior, and at her request, he takes her to the sea for their honeymoon. His life’s work is a book about enchantment–narratives in literature, most of them involving strange girls and women—but soon he finds himself distracted by his own enchantment with his new white–haired young wife. They travel to the Orkney Islands, the ancient Mesolithic and Neolithic site north of the Scottish coast, a barren place of extraordinary beauty known as “the Seal Islands.” And as the days of their honeymoon pass, his desire and his constant, yearning contemplation become his normality. His mysterious bride becomes his entire universe. He is consumed . . .
From the author of The Still Point, a winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, this is a novel that “will appeal to literature aficionados: a Lolita–esque love, a romance born out of academia, and folklore come to life” (Booklist).
“What begins as a familiar, almost fairytale–like narrative ends as something more fragmented, unsettling, and odd . . . Providing a brooding, bruised, ever–changing backdrop to all this is Orkney, the book’s most compelling character of all. In a tribute to Virginia Woolf’s experimental masterpiece, The Waves, the sea in Orkney functions as a kind of rhythmic talisman, its ebb and flow mirrored in the actions, ideas, and themes of the book. More than anything, Sackville’s Orkney is a breathtaking place in the most literal of senses.” —The Scotsman