In an old wooden sloop, Philip Marsden plots a course north from his home in Cornwall. He is sailing for the Summer Isles, a small archipelago near the top of Scotland that holds for him a deep and personal significance. On the way, he must navigate the west coast of Ireland and the Inner Hebrides.
Through the people he meets and the tales he uncovers, Marsden builds up a haunting picture of these shores – of imaginary islands and the Celtic otherworld, of the ageless draw of the west, of the life of the sea and perennial loss – and the redemptive power of the imagination.
The Summer Isles is an unforgettable account of the search for actual places, invented places, and those places in between that shape the lives of individuals and entire nations.
‘Reading Philip Marsden’s voyage to the Summer Isles is the only time in my life I shall want to be lost at sea. Shimmering, profound and deeply mesmerisin.’