The Valley at the Centre of the World – Malachy Tallack

 

I love this book. I’m trying to work out what it is about it that is so compelling. I think it’s the detailing of lives, and the creation of a world where a dead lamb is as important as a prodigal mother returning. The hard manual work of the crofter is presented in great detail, the difficulty and the satisfaction of living so close to the soil. It doesn’t feel like a work of fiction, it feels like these are real people living real, messy, more or less happy or unhappy lives. There are so many stories, one of the characters comments, and this is a collection, a weaving together of a number of stories into one coherent narrative. The landscape here shapes the people, forcing them to be self-reliant, but they are not separate from the world. The world intrudes, changes things, people come here and are changed by their experience of the place.

 

The whole book just leads you in, and on, and reads so smoothly and so naturally. I don’t know how you would classify it. It’s not a page-turner, but it’s gently addictive.

About sarahsouthwest

I'm now in my early 50s. I started writing again as a way of exploring the world, and feel that over the last 2 years I have really grown as a writer. By day I work with children and young people with mental health difficulties. I juggle my own two children, my work, my writing practice, generally managing to keep all the balls up in the air.
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