'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Quarry Wood by Nan Shepherd

back cover...

When Martha gains a place at the university, her achievement is met with a mixture of hostility and pride by her uncomprehending family. It is there that she meets Luke (married to her friend Dussie) who is to haunt the years that lie ahead as she struggles to cope with the intellectual and emotional challenges that surround her at work and at home.

This is essentially the story of a young woman's journey to maturity and independence, her high ideals, and a slowly-growing awareness of her passionate nature. Nan Shepherd's subtle prose and her understanding of the hidden currents which move people are matched by her intense and memorable descriptions of the natural world, and a dry sense of humor. The book has lost none of its freshness and originality since it met with high praise on publication over seventy years ago-four years before Grassic Gibbon's Sunset Song.

This book has some lovely prose in it and I wanted to really love it, but it was hard for me to follow sometimes. The heavy Scot's language was a little distracting for someone who doesn't speak it. I've read MacDonald before with it and didn't have too hard of a time and was able to enjoy the book and enjoy the flavor it gave it ,but this one seemed more distracting or something. There is a glossary at the back and I definitely made use of it. I think the combination of the language and the writing style made it too much of a chore to read for me.  I much preferred Sunset Song to this one. 

Sample of the writing...

"Fa wad ken? A tantrum. An' mebbe mair. She's been ettlin' aifter a shift this while back. "I'll be a lodger," she says. "Ye can be a lodger here," I says, "an' pey yer wey as weeel here as ony road." "I'm nah treated like a lodger," she says. Feart to fyle her hands, that's fat she was.But I didnathink she wad up an' awa' like that. I'm thinkin' there's mair in't nor a tantrum. She hasta been behavin' hersel. I've jaloosed it this gey while. Bit jaloosin's nah proven'.

Thanks to Jack for giving it to me to read though! I'm glad I did.

Peggy Ann


  1. The Scots language in which Shepherd was writing those bits of dialogue is actually the Doric dialect of Northeast Scotland - mainly used in the area round Aberdeen. Doric is notoriously broad. Even other Scots sometimes have difficulty with it.
    Aberdeenshire was also of course where Gibbon came from. Perhaps he lightened it up a bit.

    1. I think he must have lightened it up, Jack. It wasn't as difficult for me to make out. I liked them both but preferred Gibbon. Thanks again for the book!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...