The Valley at the Centre of the World

The Valley at the Centre of the World

3.89 (275 ratings by Goodreads)
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Longlisted for the Ondaatje Prize
Shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize

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. A place that Alice has fled to after the death of her husband. A place where Sandy, a newcomer but already a crofter, may have finally found a home. But times do change, and the valley that they all call home must change with them, or be forgotten.

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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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 21mm | 236g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1786892324
  • 9781786892324
  • 276,020

Review quote

What I've been waiting for: a moving, authentic novel of the Scottish islands in the twenty-first century -- AMY LIPTROT, Sunday Times Bestselling author of THE OUTRUN Utterly beguiling * * Sunday Times * * Life-affirming . . . [Tallack] is a careful and precise writer . . . Given that Mackay Brown and Crichton Smith were two of the best Scottish writers of fiction in the second half of the 20th century, a first novel that sits comfortably alongside their work is a considerable achievement -- Allan Massie * * Scotsman * * Tallack's concern here is with the push and pull of larger forces - love, grief, guilt, need, the idea of home itself. They're potent themes that could, but rarely do, overshadow characters about which he writes with palpable tenderness . . . A sharp-eyed and evocative painter of place * * Daily Mail * * Lyrical . . . Wonderfully atmospheric and moving * * Sunday Express * * In this intense debut novel Malachy Tallack takes us to an isolated world inhabited by a community of utterly believable folk. He is great on the nature of work, how it is done, how it exhausts, how it shows our humanity. And when he gets this right other things naturally follow - like love and empathy and understanding. This book leaves us wanting his next -- BERNARD MACLAVERTY, author of GRACE NOTES and MIDWINTER BREAK A vivid closeup of island life . . . Captures the emotional journey of a man who returns home to remote Shetland and the viewpoints of the people who live there -- Ian Sansom * * Guardian * * A desperately beautiful novel. Tallack writes with such tenderness for his characters and quiet awe for the patch of earth he places them upon. Now that I've turned the last page, I find myself experiencing a strange kind of loneliness -- SARA BAUME, author of SPILL SIMMER FALTER WITHER and A LINE MADE BY WALKING A vivid novel which immediately lands you in Shetland. It wrestles with big questions about land, community and belonging and how place shapes character. It lingers in the mind long after you have finished reading -- MADELEINE BUNTING, author of LOVE OF COUNTRY Beautiful writing, totally believable characters and a really evocative sense of place. A triumph -- NICOLA STURGEON, First Minister of Scotland
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About Malachy Tallack

Malachy Tallack is the author of two non-fiction titles, 60 Degrees North and The Un-Discovered Islands. Both fused nature writing, history and memoir; the first was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book Award and the second was named Illustrated Travel Book of the Year at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards in 2016. Malachy won a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust in 2014 and the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in 2015. He is a singer-songwriter as well as a writer and journalist and lives in Glasgow.

@malachytallack |
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Rating details

275 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 25% (69)
4 48% (132)
3 20% (55)
2 5% (15)
1 1% (4)
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