Geraldine McCaughrean – Where the World Ends
- Robin Hodge
- 27 March 2019
What really happened when a boat went missing in St Kilda in 1727
About 100 people used to live on Hirta, the main island of St Kilda located some 40 miles out into the Atlantic beyond the Outer Hebrides. In early summer each year, a group of men and boys would be taken from Hirta to a sheer stack of rock hidden from view about five miles away. There, they would harvest birds including young gannets.
After three gruelling weeks, the boat would come again to bring them back, along with the plucked and cured birds which would provide sustenance through the long harsh winter. But in 1727, the boat never returned and the three men and nine boys were left marooned for nine months on the precipitous rock with no way of escaping and no explanation. It felt as if the world had finally come to an end.
Geraldine McCaughrean fleshes out these bare bones left by history, exploring the way people interact in the rawest of raw conditions that nature can contrive. The struggle for survival, the battle between the good and evil in each of us, the power of the imagination and danger of delusion, the perils of self-righteousness, the tyranny of the bully, and the kindness and empathy of friendship are all evident in this emotionally harrowing, bare-knuckle cliffhanger of a book. Highly recommended for young adults and others.
Where the World Ends is available on Amazon.