Vinland, George Mackay Brown's fourth novel, follows the turbulent life of Ranald Sigmunson, a young boy born into the Dark Ages, when Orkney was torn between its Viking past and its Christian future. Lore and legend, the elemental pull of the sea and the land, the sweetness of the early religion and the darker, more ancient rites, weave through this exquisite celebration of Orcadian history and the inexorable seasons of life.
George Mackay Brown was born in Stromness in the Orkney Islands in 1921. He studied at Newbattle Abbey under Edwin Muir and read English at Edinburgh University. He has published many books including plays, poems, novels and collections of short stories. Edwin Muir described his work as possessing 'a strangeness and magic rare anywhere in literature today'. Apart from his years of study on the mainland, George Mackay Brown has scarcely left Orkney, and the imagery and history of the islands have been the inspiration for all his work. His most recent novel, Beside the Ocean of Time, also published by Flamingo, was shorlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize.
'whether he is describing the perils of crossing the Atlantic with nothing to steer by but the moon and the stars, or the fascination felt by a young Orcadian boy at the sumptuous choice of cheeses at the Norwegian court, Mackay Brown enters instinctively into the lives of his characters with exhilarating sureness of touch. A fascinating emotional odyssey, a novel with tone and integrity which cuts surprisingly deep.' David Robson, Sunday Telegraph 'Abundant knowledge of lore and legend, skills of seamanship and husbandry weave through the text ,like strands in a magic carpet. Entirely delightful. Mackay Brown writes from the inside, in prose as poised as his tale is fresh and entirely delightful. No writer alive is more refreshing or entertaining than George Mackay Brown at his vintage best.' Tom Adair, Scotland on Sunday 'A precise, poetic and dazzling writer' Guardian