Highland River

Highland River Ken is a scientist with a scientist s dispassionate eye for the material world as he reviews his life from the difficult s through the slaughter of World War I back to an idyllic boyhood in th

  • Title: Highland River
  • Author: Neil M. Gunn
  • ISBN: 9780862413583
  • Page: 162
  • Format: Paperback
  • Ken is a scientist, with a scientist s dispassionate eye for the material world, as he reviews his life from the difficult 1930s, through the slaughter of World War I, back to an idyllic boyhood in the Highlands When the mature man finally reaches the source of the river that has haunted his imagination for so many years, he finds that the wellsprings of magic and delightKen is a scientist, with a scientist s dispassionate eye for the material world, as he reviews his life from the difficult 1930s, through the slaughter of World War I, back to an idyllic boyhood in the Highlands When the mature man finally reaches the source of the river that has haunted his imagination for so many years, he finds that the wellsprings of magic and delight were always there, in the world all around him at the time, inexhaustible and irreverent Awarded the James Tait Memorial Prize 1937, Highland River is written in prose as cool and clear as the water it describes, and is the simplest, most poetic, and perhaps the greatest of Neil Gunn s novels.

    • Highland River ¦ Neil M. Gunn
      162 Neil M. Gunn
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      Posted by:Neil M. Gunn
      Published :2019-07-09T21:37:41+00:00

    About "Neil M. Gunn"

    1. Neil M. Gunn

      Neil Gunn, one of Scotland s most prolific and distinguished novelists, wrote over a period that spanned the Recession, the political crises of the 1920 s and 1930 s, and the Second World War and its aftermath Although nearly all his 20 novels are set in the Highlands of Scotland, he is not a regional author in the narrow sense of that description his novels reflect a search for meaning in troubled times, both past and present, a search that leads him into the realms of philosophy, archaeology, folk tradition and metaphysical speculation.Born in the coastal village of Dunbeath, Caithness, the son of a successful fishing boat skipper, Gunn was educated at the local village primary school and privately in Galloway In 1911 he entered the Civil Service and spent some time in both London and Edinburgh before returning to the North as a customs and excise officer based after a short spell in Caithness in Inverness Before voluntary retirement from Government service in 1937 to become a full time writer, he had embarked on a literary career with considerable success.His first novel, The Grey Coast 1926 , a novel in the realist tradition and set in Caithness in the 1920 s, occupied an important position in the literary movement known as the Scottish Renaissance His second novel, Morning Tide 1931 , an idyll of a Highland childhood, won a Book Society award and the praise of the well known literary and public figure, John Buchan The turning point in Gunn s career, however, came in 1937, when he won the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial prize for his deeply thought provoking Highland River, a quasi autobiographical novel written in the third person, in which the main protagonist s life is made analogous to a Highland river and the search for its source.In 1941 Gunn s epic novel about the fishing boom of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, The Silver Darlings, was widely acclaimed as a modern classic and considered the finest balance between concrete action and metaphysical speculation achieved by any British writer in the 20th century It was also the final novel of a trilogy of the history of the Northlands, the other novels being Sun Circle 1933 on the Viking invasions of the 9th century and Butcher s Broom 1934 on the Clearances In 1944 Gunn wrote his anti Utopian novel, The Green Isle of the Great Deep, a book that preceded George Orwell s novel on the same theme, Nineteen Eighty Four, by five years The novel, using an old man and a young boy from a rural background as characters in a struggle against the pressures of totalitarian state, evoked an enthusiastic response from the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung.Some of Gunn s later books, whilst not ignoring the uglier aspects of the modern world, touch on metaphysical speculation in a vein that is not without humour The Well at the Worlds End 1951 , in particular, lays emphasis on the positive aspects of living and the value of that approach in finding meaning and purpose in life Gunn s spiritual autobiography, The Atom of Delight 1956 , which, although similar in many ways to Highland River, incorporates a vein of thought derived from Gunn s interest in Zen Buddhism The autobiography was Gunn s last major work.In 1948 Gunn s contribution to literature was recognised by Edinburgh University with an honorary doctorate to the author in 1972 the Scottish Arts Council created the Neil Gunn Fellowship in his honour, a fellowship that was to include such famous writers as Henrich Boll, Saul Bellow, Ruth Prawar Jhabvala, Nadine Gordimer and Mario Vargas Llosa.

    729 thoughts on “Highland River”

    1. I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Silver Darlings although the writing is good, there were just too many descriptions of salmon poaching for my liking.


    2. I really enjoyed this book. It's the story of a young boy growing up in a highland fishing village some time 100 or so years ago. Part adventure with lots of narrative, and part philosophical musings, it reminded me of some of the great philosophers of the 18th and 19th century, like Cant. At times it was difficult to read but some of the musings are extraordinarily rich in meaning.At the back of my edition it reads :A journey of discovery to the source of the river and to the source of yourself [...]


    3. It's the story of a young boy, growing up in the little Caithness fishing village of Dunbeath and his relationship with the local river. The parts of the story involving the boy, his brothers and family are enchanting and full of colour and adventure but once it wanders into his growing up and participating in WW1, it goes rapidly downhill. Whatever possessed the author to drone on with self-analytical drivel and philosophysing is unknown but I really just wanted to drop the book down a hole at [...]


    4. I was bored for much of this. It starts well enough but half way through the central metaphors of man and nature, memory and eternity, have been worked to death and you're longing for one of the chapters that jumps forward into the future life of the boy at the centre of the story. I put this down for a long time, then when I came back to it I found myself temporarily charmed again by its lightly poetic style. But it was still a slog to get to the end.


    5. Demands a lot of patience and attention, though beautifully, lyrically written and the chapters which deal with Ken's life are compelling. It doesn't seem a novel (not that that is necessarily a criticism!), and at times I was rather lost in the philosophy. Definitely one for re-reading, but really rewards the effort.


    6. An evocative tale imbued with a sadness I find familiar to Gunn's work. From hard life to hard life. The main and back story offer little hope. Indeed that is only glimpsed through connection between humanity and nature. Where courage and strength in the face of adversity bring the ultimate reward of survival and satisfaction in its achievement. Beautifully written but not for the depressed.


    7. Not an easy book to read--sometimes I found Gunn's philosophical musings hard to follow--the stories from his life lightened the load, and the writing is lovely and rich and true. A book I think I'll need to reread in order to fully appreciate.


    8. My favorite of all Gunn books-the reader feels great empathy for the perceptive Scottish boy living close to the earth and family




    9. Whatever terrible things happen my life, the river i grew up with will always be there. This gives me strength, makes me happy and connects me to something biggerore


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