Malachy Tallack – Valley at the Centre of the World (3 stars)

Malachy Tallack – Valley at the Centre of the World

Authentic portrayal of a harsh and rugged life on Shetland

The Valley at the Centre of the World portrays Shetland's rugged landscape and harsh backdrop with a serenity that works in tandem with Malachy Tallack's clear passion for the overall setting. As the island's inhabitants grow, move away or die, we witness the cyclical nature of time in the company of David, a crofter who has lived in this same place his entire life: he is the one constant, remaining tied to the valley and its isolated atmosphere.

The way in which language and dialect are presented throughout adds an authenticity to the overall narrative voice, providing a real connection to the characters and their rural lives. Though eventually reaching a point of crisis, the story is crucially not centred on one major element of drama or emotion, but on change itself and the quiet removal of tradition and custom between generations.

Through the development of this series of characters and their relationship with ideas of home and place, Tallack's debut novel explores identity, community and the innate desire that exists within us all to feel some sense of belonging.

Out Thu 3 May (Canongate).

The Valley at the Centre of the World by Malachy Tallack

A book launch for Malachy Tallack's debut novel.

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