The Silver Darlings by Neil M Gunn

Casting their nets…

😀 😀 😀 😀

The Silver DarlingsWhen the landlords throw the tenants off their crofts to make way for sheep, the crofters of the north-east of Scotland turn to the sea to make their living in the new industry of herring fishing that is springing up, aided to some degree by those same landlords (guilt money) and by government subsidies. This book tells the story of Catrine, a young wife whose husband has been taken by the press gangs, and her son Finn as he grows from childhood into manhood, and becomes a fisherman in his turn. And through them, it shows the way of life of these people, as they slowly become masters of their new trade, learning through hard experience and sometimes tragedy.

It’s very well written and along the way Gunn gives enough information so that readers with no familiarity with the story of the Highland Clearances will pick up enough to be able to understand the huge upheaval it meant for the crofters, economically and socially. Gunn shows it as not all bad (which is quite rare in Scotland, where bitterness over the Clearances tends to make us portray everything that came out of them as disastrous). He shows that the fishermen found that they could earn far more from fishing than they ever had from crofting, and many of the men took to a more adventurous life with enthusiasm. However, he also shows how it impacted their way of life as people became more village-based and old traditions, like oral storytelling, had to be nurtured in order to survive. Women had to come to terms with their husbands and sons being away at sea for lengthy periods, leaving them to maintain any land and smallholdings they had managed to hold on to. And ever present is the fear of death from sudden storms or accidents or, as Catrine experienced, the loss of menfolk who were “pressed” into serving in the Navy.

Personally I’m a plot-driven person, and that’s the one thing the book really lacks. It’s a slow look at society through Finn’s life in it, as boy and then man, and if there’s an overarching story at all, it is simply the one of who Finn will eventually marry. This lack of a driving storyline made it a slow read for me – I found it interesting in the way non-fiction is, rather than compelling as a suspenseful novel would normally be. There were several parts that I felt dragged, but there are also several parts where it picks up pace and emotion and becomes quite thrilling, such as the first time the men take their boat round the notorious Cape Wrath and finally make it to Stornoway, such a hard journey at that time that Stornoway feels like a foreign country. Or when the cholera epidemic hits the village, again shown very realistically with older, weaker people succumbing while the younger, stronger ones tended to survive. Gunn shows the primitive, almost non-existent healthcare in these poorer, remote communities, and how the people still relied on superstition and traditional remedies to get them through.

classics club logo 2Book 78 of 90

Gunn largely leaves out the politics of the Clearances – his mission is to show the birth of the herring industry rather than the end of crofting. He does this very well, and I felt I learned a lot about how the industry grew up from a small start, with a few wealthier men setting up as exporters and building trade routes to Europe, and gradually directing the fishermen almost like employees or contractors. We see the first signs of what has subsequently become a major on-going issue – the overfishing of certain areas and types of fish, and we see the men gradually spread out into new, more dangerous seas and begin to fish for other types of fish than herring, the silver darlings of the title. It all feels remarkably relevant now that fishing, like crofting before it, has become a declining industry, hanging on grimly in the face of all the economic and political odds that are stacked against it. We think now of the Scottish fishing industry as one of our national traditions under threat, just as the crofters were once driven from their land. This was an excellent reminder that in fact fishing has only been a major industry in Scotland for a relatively short time, historically speaking, and also a reminder that all industries pass in time, to be replaced by newer and, if we’re lucky, perhaps even better ones.

….This was the way in which he had seen Roddie, once when he was at the tiller, upright as if carven, during the storm in the Western Ocean, and again in the moment of the cliff-head, when eternity had put its circle about them, and he had known the ultimate companionship of men, had seen the gentleness, profounder than any crying of the heart, at the core of male strength.
….Finn experienced this far more surely than could ever be thought out or expressed in words. Perhaps here was the education that came from no schooling, came from the old stories by men like Hector and Black John and Finn-son-of-Angus, none of whom could either read or write. And the girl, not teaching, but singing the experience of the race of women in tradition’s own voice.

Neil M Gunn
Neil M Gunn

Although the characters would have been Gaelic or Scots speakers, Gunn has happily chosen to write in standard English throughout, making it easily accessible to non-Scots and non-Gaelic speakers. His portrayal of the sea as a heartless mistress, dealing out wealth and death arbitrarily, is wonderful, and the sailing scenes are some of the best parts of the book. But equally he is great at showing the wild highland landscape, and the remoteness of the villages even from each other.

Overall, then, for the most part I found the book slow-going and longed for a plot to carry me forward. However, I found the look at this way of life interesting, interspersed with occasional dramatic episodes that for brief periods brought it thrillingly to life.

I read this as part of a Review-Along with blog buddies, Christine, Alyson, Rose and Sandra. I’ll add a link to Rose’s review when it appears (see below), and Sandra’s, if she decides to review it (also now below), and please check in the comments below to see what the others though of it. I’m hoping they all enjoyed it as much or even more than I did!

Rose’s review

Sandra’s review

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

72 thoughts on “The Silver Darlings by Neil M Gunn

  1. I’m sorry you found The Silver Darlings slow, but I couldn’t be more grateful to you for choosing this book as I would never have come across it otherwise. I truly loved it and felt as if I was living in the story while I was reading it.
    The slight plot didn’t bother me at all. My big question was always would Tormad return and what would change for Catrine when he did. The frequent smaller domestic or fishing events and the occasional big events, like the cholera or Roddie and his crews’ dangerous trip to Stornaway, and watching Finn become a man kept me wondering what was happening in their world whenever I put the book down. I remember feeling the same way when I read Patrick White’s The Tree of Man which is similar in that the story is of a life, rather than a particular stage of life where something particularly exciting or memorable had happened.
    Thank goodness the story was written in English! You might have been able to manage some Gaelic or dialect better than me.
    I think there is an old black and white movie of The Silver Darlings. I happened on a trailer showing a very beautiful woman snuggling with a handsome fisherman. Have you watched this?

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    • I think it’s because I read a lot of non-fiction and history so I’m looking for something different in fiction, but I definitely enjoyed it overall. I also felt more drawn to Catrine than Finn, so that made the early parts of the book more interesting to me, and I also wondered whether Tormad would come back. Haha, I might have understood some Scots, but I don’t know a single word of Gaelic – it’s an impossible language, I think!

      No, I didn’t even know there was a film! I looked it up and I must say I don’t recognise any of the actors’ names so I suspect it might have been a B-movie. I’ll keep an eye out to see if it turns up on a cable channel sometime…

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    • Indeed! One of the things I found interesting in this was learning that the new fishing industry had been helped by (UK) government subsidy – something that never gets mentioned up here when we’re bitterly condemning the Clearances. And now of course we’re fighting to keep the sheep hill-farms that were once seen as the enemy of the crofter. If only we could have proper discussions about how to deal with these major shifts in the working economy rather than all taking up opposing positions and getting nothing done…

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        • Absolutely! And since Scotland is awash with water, wave and wind we should be able to really divert easily into green technologies (though maybe we’ll have to leave solar power to the South of England… 😉 ). I just wish our politicians could give an optimistic vision of the future backed by solid plans rather than spending their time calling each other names. In the recent Scottish elections, everyone was fighting about benefit levels and free food for disadvantaged schoolchildren – all well and good, but what I wanted was for them to be telling us how they planned to provide well paying jobs so people could actually have a better future…

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          • I’ve never been so disenchanted with politics as I am now but even when I was more optimistic I felt the lack of a government that took the long view. And, as you say, always too much arguing the toss.

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            • Yes, I think it’s an inevitable drawback of democracies that most governments only look as far as the next election. But somehow democracies still seem to muddle through better than any of the alternatives… so far!

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    • I thought this was a much more balanced and optimistic picture of the post-Clearances world than you usually get from Scottish writers, and despite knowing a reasonable amount about the subject already, I learned a lot from it.

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  2. Fascinating – I think we touched on the Highland Clearances in history at school but I can’t remember very much about the subject at all. I’m actually really glad that I didn’t get round to reading it in time to join in, because now I can go into it expecting little in the way of plot, and probably enjoy it much more as a result! I don’t mind slow books where nothing much happens, as long as I’m not expecting much to happen – so now I am looking forward to this even more.

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    • The Clearances are one of those things that have passed into the mythology of Scotland now – we all think we know what happened, but the reality was much more complicated than we tend to believe. Even though I already knew a reasonable amount about that period, I felt I learned a lot from this despite wishing there had been more of a plot. And the writing is very good – quite emotive at the dramatic points. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it – I look forward to hearing your opinion!

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  3. I like a plot-driven book, too, FictionFan. So I can see your point about that. Still, this sounds like an absolutely fascinating look at the lives of the crofters-turned-fishermen and their families. And I really do like a book where you see the impact of larger socio-political movements through the eyes of the individuals who live through them. I don’t know much about the Clearances, so even though that in itself isn’t the main focus of the book, it interests me. Glad you enjoyed it.

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    • Yes, it’s all down to personal preference, and I’m glad some of the other readers didn’t mind the lack of a strong plot. I was quite pleased that he showed a relatively positive aspect of the aftermath of the Clearances – something we don’t often highlight up here is that many of those “cleared” went on to find better ways of life, either here or in the various dominions. We’re proud of the Scottish Diaspora, but we often ignore the clear link between it and the Clearances. And I think the same is true of the fishing industry – we forget why it came into being in the first place.

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  4. I’m glad to hear this one’s in standard English, but I’m sad its plot falls below expectations. To me, reading a plot-less book is akin to reading an encyclopedia — parts can be interesting, but it’s hard to stick with it as you don’t care what happens (well, you might care, but you’re sure not going to find out!)

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    • I think it’s because I read a lot of non-fiction and history that I expect fiction to feel different, by having a strong plot. I’m glad some of the other readers didn’t feel it was a drawback, and enjoyed learning about the fishing industry through the characters’ lives. And despite finding it slow-going at points, I also feel I learned a lot and the dramatic sections are very good!

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  5. This sounds really interesting. I don’t know a lot about the clearances, besides what I learned when I visited Scotland (2019, pre-pandemic), and I think I’d love to read this book. Hopefully I will be able to visit Scotland soon and I would love to read some novels/fiction. I will add this book on my to-read list on goodreads.

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    • I’ve been trying to read more Scottish fiction over the last few years – I’m woefully ignorant of the literature of my own country! So if you’re interested in more recommendations, let me know what periods you’re interested in and I’ll see if I’ve maybe read and enjoyed anything relevant. I must admit I’ve come to the conclusion that we don’t have anything like the breadth of good fiction as England, though it breaks my heart to say so!

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    • Yes, I think this one really highlights how much personal preference affects reactions to books, although I’m glad that so far all the readers have enjoyed it, even if to varying degrees. I think going into it knowing that it’s a look at a way of life rather than a plot-driven novel would help. I hope you too enjoy it if you get to it!

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  6. I most likely would not have picked this up at all if it hadn’t been for this reviewalong. I am always saying I need to read more Scottish fiction, but have had too many experiences of it being either angry/aggressive, or sentimental/twee, never much in the way of middle ground. This indeed seemed quite balanced on the whole, and I found it an oddly peaceful reading experience, which I wasn’t expecting. As Historical Fiction, it worked well, as it never became an info-dump, or a case of an author showing off his knowledge and dedication to research, and I found the liesurely pacing useful in that it allowed the information delivered to sink in. I agree it was maybe a bit long, but as it was essentially a bildungsroman, it gave Fin a chance to properly develop as a character, and while not much happened on one level, it felt like an authentic inroad into a certain time and place. The plot versus character driven narrative is always an interesting debate, and I love the way readers, and indeed writers gravitate more towards one side or the other. I wonder whether some of this is to do with broader personality traits, styles of life etc besides specific reading tastes. As quite an extreme Introvert who is becoming increasingly introspective as I get older, I am becoming more drawn to quieter, more thoughtful narratives, so this was kind of in keeping with the direction of my reading and life in general at the moment, but I can see why the lack of specific plot would dip the energy for people who wish for shorter, sharper stories. Thanks again for hosting another reviewalong, and introducing us to another book which would probably have slipped under our radar otherwise.

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    • I know exactly what you mean – I often don’t enjoy Scottish fiction for those reasons. I was glad he mostly steered clear of politics in this one, because it’s always the politics aspect that tends to make our fiction seem quite bitter… that and the mind-numbing alcoholism that infests a lot of it!

      I’ve suspected for a while that in my case it’s because I read a lot of non-fiction and history that I want a plot in fiction to make it stand out as a different form. For me fiction should always be a faster read than whatever non-fiction I’m reading at the same time, and quite a lot of this one did feel like non-fiction to me. However I can quite see why these slower books can be immersive, and I often wish I didn’t feel the need for excitement in fiction quite so much! But when he was writing about specific events, like the storms or the cholera epidemic I was totally involved. And I think I also was more involved in Catrine’s story than Finn’s, and as he grew up she faded into the background a bit.

      I’m glad Rose, you and I all enjoyed it, though, and I hope Christine and Sandra have too. At least this was more successful than Tender is the Night! 😉

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    • Some really helpful comments here, Alyson. Our taste in reading matter overlaps I think, in prefering the quieter novels. Gunn, as I’ve now learned, was such a respected and prolific author and yet it seems he’s hardly known now. So many marvellous writers who slip under radar. I’m delighted we have found this one!

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  7. I appreciate your review and Alyson’s comment. While I also like a plot-driven book, sometimes the sheer beauty of the story of a community or a time is a draw. The excerpt you included drew me in.

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    • The writing is excellent, and I think the difference in Rose’s and my opinion is a great indication of how much it all comes to personal preference in the end. I can see how these slower books can be immersive reading, especially when as well written as this one. But give me action! 😉

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  8. If I’ve got wonderful characters and an excellent setting of time and place, I don’t mind a lacking plot. I’m still not sure this appeals to me, though.

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    • I was glad it worked for Rose because when I was reading it I wondered if it might be too Scottish to appeal to non-Scots. I suspected Alyson (also Scottish) and I would enjoy it because it’s always interesting to learn more about your own history. But I wasn’t so sure about the other review-alongers! Maybe we’ll tempt you with our next choice… 😀

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  9. Seems like there should be some kind of tension that drives the narrative forward, but it does sound like the author is depending on the reader’s “wanting to know” about this lifestyle more than anything else.

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    • His mission was clearly to show a particular lifestyle through the lives of his characters, and he did it very well. But I think because I read a lot of non-fiction and history, I’m looking for something different in fiction – I like it to be faster moving and have a strong story. I’m glad the other readers don’t seem to have felt the lack of a plot to be a problem though, showing once again that it all comes down to personal preference in the end…

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  10. What a wonderful review – you made me very much interested in it even though it’s not plot-driven. I don’t mind books where “nothing happens,” haha! I’ll have to keep this in mind once I’ve finished my Classics Club list.

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    • Thank you! I do think it’s very much a personal preference thing – I often wish I didn’t feel the need for a plot so much, since so many authors forget to put one in! 😉 I hope you enjoy it if you do get to it sometime. 😀

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  11. This sort of quiet, character-driven narrative is actually quite appealing to me and the history here sounds interesting too. I’m completely ignorant about the Highland Clearances but am now curious because it matches the timing and place of when my family left Scotland.

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    • That was the peak era for emigration from Scotland, forced or voluntary, and if your family came from the north then they were quite likely to have been affected by the Clearances, directly or indirectly. The Highland Clearances have taken on a sort of mythology here now, so that what we think we know about them isn’t necessarily the full story. What I liked about this one is that he showed people going on to do well in an alternative industry – normally books about the Clearances are completely pessimistic, because for many people they really were a disastrous time. But for some, as he shows, they opened up new opportunities, which is also true for the people who emigrated – those who survived the journey, at any rate!

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    • Yes, I liked that he didn’t concentrate on the tragedy of the Clearances themselves so much, instead showing that for some at least new opportunities rose up – in some cases, giving them a better life than the one they’d lost. I’m glad Rose reviewed it too – since she’s happier than me with these slower-paced novels, between us I think we give quite a balanced view of it… 😀

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  12. I was totally captured by The Silver Darlings. It’s interesting to read, FF, how your preference for plot- driven stories in part shaped your response to the book. I also enjoy some stories which are driven more by character development, and don’t mind the slower pace that often accompanies this and find it adds to a sense of feeling immersed in a story over time. For me, the characters themselves were the continuous element through different story episodes: dramatic adventurous scenes, characters’ responses to evocative and lyrically described land and sea scapes, the companionship of men at sea, and the quieter hard-working, deep-feeling lives of women. I was immersed enough in the rhythms of the story and invested enough in the characters that my critical eye wasn’t very active and I could let some inconsistencies pass me by.
    I finally got round to reading Devine’s The Scottish Clearances, which you’d recommended earlier, in preparation for reading Gunn’s book. I’m pleased I did as this gave me a richer historical context to appreciate Gunn’s depiction of crofters becoming fisherman and workers in the fish industry. I found the information he conveyed about this aspect of Scottish history really interesting and well told.
    A very satisfying story for me, thanks for the prompt to read it!

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed it so much – it seems to have been a successful read for everyone, even if I wasn’t quite as immersed in it as the rest of you. I’m also glad you enjoyed the Devine – it gives a great insight into the Clearances, doesn’t it? If I hadn’t read it first, I’d have been quite surprised at Gunn’s somewhat positive view of the aftermath, for these characters, at least, since as I’ve said before, stories about the Clearances usually concentrate on the tragedies and don’t mention the new opportunities that came along for the displaced. I was thinking that there are far more Clearances stories still to be told – half of Scottish literature seems to be about the Jacobite Rebellions, when in fact the Scottish Diaspora offers far more scope, I feel. Maybe those books have been written at the other end of the emigration routes rather than by the Scots who stayed in Scotland.

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      • I do have a real interest in these after the Clearances stories. I haven’t noticed Scottish Diaspora stories related to New Zealand, which doesn’t mean they don’t exist, I’ll keep my eyes open. I’ve spent quite a lot of time trying to find out as much as I can about my own Scottish ancestors’ path to here, which is more of a tantalising story outline, just working through documents rather than recorded accounts.

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        • Yes, when I researched my family all I could get was names and dates and places, but I found I eventually created stories around them, based on a combination of facts and guesswork. That can be risky though – I remember my brother repeating a story about one of our ancestors which had been mere speculation on my part. In the intervening years, he’d forgotten that and thought I’d actually had proof. I guess this is how legends are created.

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          • Yes, I have the same temptation once I get past this research stage. I know my family loves whatever stories I do share so maybe it is worth conveying the essence of their stories in ways that are memorable and carry through time!

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            • It’s odd how you can develop an attachment to family members from long ago even with just the minimal information available. One or two of them eventually began to feel like people I had known, and I’d find myself getting angry or sad over things the records suggested might have happened to them. And one of them I could never find any record of her death at all, so I have to assume she’s still alive and currently the oldest woman in the world… 😉

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            • I absolutely agree. And it is so satisfying to put their stories together (as if they weren’t already intact!). My latest find was a 43 year old ‘spinster’ in Suffolk who married her 18 years younger boarder and then had a child and seemingly stayed with her husband until her death at 88. I couldn’t help feeling it was good she had had that opportunity, imagining she’d looked after her mother until she died at 40. But actually all I have is dates and addresses (and who knows what sort of marriage it actually was…)

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            • My favourite ancestor is Agnes. She had two sons each with different surnames although there’s no record of her ever marrying. Did she call the sons after their fathers or did she just pick names to give them a sort of respectability? One of the names she chose is highly unusual in Scotland – in fact, I can’t find any people with that name who aren’t descendants of Agnes’ son even today, so I suspect he at least must have been a real man. His name originates in Cornwall, which leads me to believe I must have some English blood, along with the Irish and Scottish blood I already knew about. And he was probably a sailor – quite possibly a smuggler – since that’s the most likely reason for a Cornish man to be visiting the area in which Agnes lived. Poor Agnes worked as a servant at a local farm, and died of tuberculosis when she was only 25. I know where she’s buried, but there’s no grave marker. If I ever did write a book (which I won’t), it’s Agnes’ story I’d like to tell… 😀

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            • That is a great story and wonderful her son(s) survived in the circumstances. Knowing some of the historical circumstances of the time does help to build our ancestors’ stories. I discovered I had many more English ancestors than had ever been acknowledged through family stories. Those early impressions must have left deeper traces though as I find myself more drawn to researching Irish and Scottish history than I do my Suffolk roots – maybe one day…

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            • It’s actually much harder to research English forebears from a distance. In Scotland, the process of registering births, marriages and deaths became centralised quite early on, so that it was relatively easy for them to put the records online and not much exists beyond what you can find on the internet. But in England, quite often it’s a matter of looking up old parish records and a lot of them still haven’t been computerised. Even guessing that Agnes’ son is called after his father, forename and surname, I was able to discover nothing useful about the Cornwall link online, so it became a complete dead end.

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            • Ireland can be hard too, because so many records were lost in the fire in the Dublin Records office. Again I hit a dead end pretty quickly over there. But half the fun was in the searching itself – teaches you a lot about the social history of the times.

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            • Yes, anything pre 1901 is near impossible. And that’s when I wish I’d had a chance for adult conversations with my Irish grandmother and that my settler Irish great-grandfather had actually left some stories behind – with his common Irish name (first and last) and the possibility of the famine having impacted on his family, it’s a complete block – even when my auntie visited there, she couldn’t find more. And you’re right – I’ve read a lot about the Irish Famine (great-grandfather) and the Irish independence conflict (grandmother) than I would have without them as my ancestors.

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            • I never met any of my grandparents – they were all dead before I was born. But my mother had been very close to her own grandmother and lived with her after her mother died, so she’d picked up a lot of family lore, which she passed on to me in her later years. I must admit some of it turned out not to have been accurate, or even true. For instance, Agnes’ life had clearly been considered so scandalous that after her death the family had invented and then killed off a husband for her – there could be no taint of illegitimacy in a respectable working class family by the time my great-grandmother was telling the story! My mother was horrified when we found out that her grandfather was illegitimate – so much so that I began to filter what I told her. I never told her that her other grandfather died in the poorhouse!

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            • It was something I became aware of as I did my research, who I be should be sharing certain stories with.

              I am grateful I have my paternal auntie as the men in that side of the family are a fairly taciturn lot (though may have responded to direct questioning if they’d still be alive when I became interested) so I’m grateful to hear my auntie’s stories and want to get them down while she’s still with us.

              The DNA side of ancestry open up a whole new dimension of information sharing. I’ve become aware that my non-Irish grandmother had a different than expected biological father – and decided it was not my business to share this information with her surviving son, my uncle, it was shocking enough to me when I realised it (the whole French biological link in the family disappeared as well as impacting on family stories). This DNA tracking is a bit of a Pandora’s box but I’m a bit of searcher so I do come across these things…

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            • The DNA thing hadn’t taken off yet when I was researching, and I’ve always been wary of doing it for fear of learning some secret that had been hidden for years. They say there’s an amazing number of people who discover their biological father isn’t who they thought, which I must say always astonishes me. I must be ultra naive but I genuinely thought most people who marry stay faithful – especially women! Clearly I need to wear a gullible badge… 😉

              Yes, I always wish I’d asked my dad more about his war experiences. Unfortunately we tend to be so absorbed in our own lives when we’re young – or at least I was – and not really interested in listening to family stories. And then by the time I reached an age where I did want to know more, I had very few elderly relatives left. My uncle in Canada got me to research his Scottish ancestors about twenty-five years ago, and tried to interest his own children, with no success. But out of the blue recently, his daughter – now middle-aged – asked if I still had all the info since they now want to know, and my poor uncle has Alzheimer’s now and can’t remember anything.

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  13. I’ve held back from commenting until I posted my own review. (Hurrah, I did it!) Reading through yours, Rose’s and the many insightful comments has cemented my thoughts. I’m with Alyson as an introvert (yep, really!) and in being drawn to character-driven books. Although I’m not averse to a fast-paced plot driver, Alyson (I hope you read this, Alyson) has identified for me that I prefer a peaceful read. Plot and pace can feel exhausting for me; it’s a fine line. The book itself I loved in almost every respect. I will undoubtedly read more from Gunn and I’ll look out for the film and the play though I can’t see either capturing the book’s scope. Really enjoyed this read and the review-along, FF. It’s been too long!

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    • I’ve just replied over on your own blog so won’t bore by going over all my thoughts again (did I hear you cheering? 😉 ), but I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. I can’t imagine a play working at all given all the on the boat stuff. A film might be better, but I suspect it might have been a B-movie – I don’t recognise a single name on the cast list. But if it turns up on a cable channel at some point, I’ll give it a try… 😀

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  14. Your observation about the different between reading a suspense novel and non-fiction is a great one! I feel the same way, I come to read non-fiction to learn things, but I rarely find myself racing through the pages. This one seems interesting because it’s certainly something I would like to learn more about, but I can see how the lack of plot would be…ahem…slightly slower.

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    • Yes, I often think that it’s because I read a lot of non-fiction that I feel the need for a plot so much in fiction – otherwise I always feel non-fiction is more likely to be accurate. But happily all the other Review-Alongers weren’t at all bothered at the lack of a plot, so I’ll stop moaning… 😉

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    • I’m glad I’m not alone in needing a plot! So many people have said it doesn’t bother them, I was beginning to think I was weird… 😉 I think my attitude to it was affected my slumpiness too – I’ve been struggling with long books for months now.

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