Van has finished reading…Heligoland by Shena Mackay

16 Sep

It’s likely those in the know will tell you, when talking about point of view, that you should stick to one, that if you are going to change you shouldn’t do it often, and that if you do do it you should have good reason to. It struck me quite plainly, reading Heligoland, why they tell you this. It disorients. It wrong-foots you as a reader if you don’t notice the little signposts, so you have to go back a paragraph or two and read over. The most important point though is the last one, and Shena Mackay’s reasoning sings out: it’s exactly that sense of fractured understanding that comes through. It underlines just how little you know, just how ‘surface’ our connections with other people can be.

This book is a pendulum, lurching from desperately sad to smilingly optimistic in the space of a sentence or two, and captures that sense of detachment – from ourselves as well as others – with enviable economy. It makes the heart yearn.


One Response to “Van has finished reading…Heligoland by Shena Mackay”

  1. wendyedmond 19/10/2013 at 10:50 pm #

    I loved ‘The Orchard on fire’ so will look out for this one, Van. I think Sheila Mackay and Kate Atkinson share the same view of things, excellent writing from both.

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