Robert Macfarlane on John McPhee:
Posted 23rd March 2017
‘He is as accomplished a master of the micro-narrative as Lydia Davis or Ernest Hemingway . . . and he can write about anything.’
Certain other islands are prominently visible from Colonsay when the air is clear. The weather changes so abruptly there – closing in, lifting, closing in again – that all in an hour wind-driven rain may be followed by calm and hazy sunshine, which may then be lost in heavy mists that soon disappear into open skies over dark-blue seas. When the ocean is blue, the air is as pure as a lens, and the other islands seem imminent and almost encroaching, although they are at least ten or fifteen miles away – Mull, for example, Scarba, Islay, Jura, the Isles of the Sea. In summer, toward midnight, the sun falls behind Tiree, thirty-five miles to the north-west, and Tiree becomes suddenly visible, back-lighted, apparently suspended in the air.
From The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee: a blend of anthropology and travelogue that presents us with a perfect mirror of daily-life in the Highlands. McPhee writes with insight, sensitivity, and fondness for these hardy people – resulting in an account that’s as honest, humorous, and frank as the locals themselves.
Read more and buy the book here.