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The Valley at the Centre of the World
The Valley at the Centre of the World | Malachy Tallack
10 posts | 4 read | 17 to read
'The thing he felt ending was not just one person, or even one generation; it was older, and had, in truth, been ending for a long time . . . It was a chain of stories clinging to stories, of love clinging to love. It was an inheritance he did not know how to pass on.' Shetland: a place of sheep and soil, of harsh weather, close ties and an age-old way of life. A place where David has lived all his life, like his father and grandfather before him, but where he abides only in the present moment. A place where Sandy, a newcomer but already a crofter, may have finally found a home. A place that Alice has fled to after the death of her husband. But times do change - island inhabitants die, or move away, and David worries that no young families will take over the chain of stories and care that this valley has always needed, while others wonder if it was ever truly theirs to join. In the wind and sun and storms from the Atlantic, these islanders must decide: what is left of us when the day's work is done, the children grown, and all our choices have been made? The debut novel from one of our most exciting new literary voices, The Valley at the Centre of the World is a story about community and isolation, about what is passed down, and what is lost between the cracks.
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review
Oryx
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Beautiful novel - it describes modern life on Shetland from the point of view of several different characters. It's so well written. And I love the use of Shetland dialect for some characters' dialogue. I thought it might be difficult to follow at first, but it wasn't, and really enhanced the book.

eraderneely Your holiday looks fantastic! Glad you‘ve had some good books to go with it. (edited) 3mo
Oryx @eraderneely I'd definitely recommend the Hebrides for a holiday - it's stunning. We're having a lovely time. 3mo
59 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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Oryx
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Daisy and I could happily spend all day here reading this fabulous book, but Mr Oryx says we need to leave the house at least once a day...

@mitch this is one you recommended to me when we were at Gladstone's - I'm loving it. Beautiful writing, fascinating characters

TrishB Happy place 😁 3mo
Cathythoughts I know the feeling 👍🏻♥️. I have to coaxed out of my cosy holiday spot too. Also with sea view & book ♥️ 3mo
Tamra Moving from a reading state is overrated. 😝 3mo
TheSpineView It's such a “Ruff“ life! 3mo
Mitch Glad youre liking it - i really loved the landscape 3mo
82 likes5 comments
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Magslhalliday
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Pickpick

Cannot recommend this highly enough. Some astonishingly astute writing, and a respectful use of dialect in the dialogue to indicate different characters‘ personalities.

Also ticks that awkward V letter if you‘re doing #LitsyAtoZ.

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Magslhalliday
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When someone you love is going to die, when you know they are going to die and there is nothing you can do to stop it, life splits.
...
The other half, though, is always looking forward. It sees beyond the dying to the dead.

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Tereses
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Pickpick

Two recent reads. I loved the gentle beauty of Tallack's valley and its people, following the lives of five residents in a remote valley in the Shetlands.
Love Songs was more serious than other books in the Dr Siri series, with its reminder of the horror of the killing fields.
#islandlife #islanders

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scripturient
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My latest review copies arrived from Canongate Books today. Can‘t wait to read these!

Lizpixie Jess Kidd is fabulous! I‘ve read & loved The Hoarder, Himself arrived last week & this one is on my preorder wishlist👍 10mo
110 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Mitch
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Pickpick

Having just returned from the islands, I maybe biased as to the amazingness of how well the author doesn't just take you to the valley, but you feel the dirt & salt air, you hear the sounds & dialect and you can sense the layers of story & meaning that is laid down in the physical earth. The characters are drawn so well you get to know & understand them as people really deeply, in a way I've not been effected by for a long time. A super pick!

RaimeyGallant Nice review! 2y
Mitch Thanks @RaimeyGallant One of my reading goals this year is to review every book I read! Haven‘t miss out one yet! 🤞🏼 2y
83 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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Mitch
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“Here, he‘d felt absorbed by the place, without being destroyed by it”

I love books that really have a deep sense of their geographical location. This one is brilliant at that

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Mitch
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I‘m a sucker for craving my bookmark to match my book! I choose a bookmark for each book I read ( that‘s not weird, right?). This Shetland novel has the perfect match - a map of The Shetland Islands ! #smallthingsmakemehappy

BiblioLitten I use different bookmarks for different books too, even though they don't necessarily match the theme of the book. 😊 2y
Jabberwocky That‘s amazing‘ also such a pretty bookmark! 2y
umbrellagirl Stacked 2y
LeahBergen I always match my bookmark to my read, too. 😄 2y
Mitch Glad to hear I‘m not alone @LeahBergen ! 🙏 2y
82 likes5 comments
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Mitch
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Reason #356 why I could never commit to a book buying ban

Having just come back from 10 days on The Shetland Islands and planning how quickly I can get back there this novel (set on the islands) reaches out and grabs me, walks me to the till and demands to be read immediately!

Burghbookaddict Yay, Ive given up in buying bans bc I always fail! 2y
Soubhiville Your flowers are lovely 😊 2y
Hooked_on_books I will never try a book buying ban. I don‘t like setting myself up for failure. 😬😂 2y
See All 6 Comments
LeahBergen It sounds wonderful! 2y
Mitch I know @Soubhiville. The bookshop has such wonderfully sculpted displays on their centre tables. It feels very decadent ! 2y
Mitch I know @LeahBergen It was one of those serendipity moments when what you‘ve been dreaming about in your head is written on the inside flap of a new book! Really looking forward to go back to the island though the pages! 2y
96 likes6 comments