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Orkney

A Novel

List Price: $15.95

April 1, 2014 | Paperback | 5-1/2 x 8-1/4, 224 pages | ISBN 9781619023161
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“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

About Amy Sackville

Amy Sackville was born in 1981. She studied English and Theatre Studies at Leeds, and went on to an MPhil in English at Exeter College, Oxford, and an MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths. Her first novel was The Still Point. She teaches creative writing at the University of Kent.

Praise
Praise for Orkney

"Sackville writes like a dream (in all senses), conveying both the uncanny power of love and the inscrutable heartbreak of loss."—Kirkus

"Sackville's novel will appeal to literature aficionados: a Lolita–esque love, a romance born out of academia, and folklore come to life." —Booklist


Praise for the U.K. edition of Orkney

"Sackville's second novel is poetic, dreamlike and beautifully written." —The Times

"Lyrical and compelling ... readers will be gripped from start to finish ... Orkney is entirely original. Sackville's beautiful and poignant novel reminds us of the real nature of tradition, which is not only to insist on retelling old stories, but also to remake them in our own image, for our own time ... In Orkney myth slips free from the dust and politesse of the library, and assumes a vivid, dangerous and unparaphraseable existence." —Times Literary Supplement

"Orkney is a short, strange novel about a couple on their honeymoon. He is an ageing English professor on sabbatical. She is his star pupil ... 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.' —Scotsman

"A haunting novel set on a beautifully described remote island in Orkney ... It's like a folk ballad, full of otherworldly emotion and strange impulses." —Marie Claire

"A truly remarkable feat of writing ... it sets Amy Sackville up as one of the UK's most exciting new writers ... she is a genius with her turn of phrase: deft, evocative and clever. One of those writers who so vividly illustrates her story it's actually physically satisfying to read." —Stylist

"A dark, intense tale of the mysteries of marriage and the never ending lure of the sea ... the intense beauty of the language beguiles the reader with its lilting poetic rhythms and we can hear the constant ebb and flow of the sea ... Sackville is a great literary talent, one to watch in the future." —Bookmunch

"Sackville has written her own rich and rhythmic book of enchantment, a book possessed and of possession, sharing themes with A.S. Byatt, although stylistically the novelists are worlds apart ... Amy Sackville has written a rich and remarkable book, whose language and structure mirror the minds and surroundings of her central characters." —Words of Mercury

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