Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A rich, sultry, ambitious novel about a young American writer/curator, fleeing a crumbling marriage in New York who travels with her nine-year old daughter to one of the remote islands in the north of Scotland, birthplace of her grandfather.

Commissioned to set up a museum there and to write the biography of the island's celebrated poet and chronicler, Mhairi McPhail is slowly drawn in by the complicated life she is uncovering and writing about--the Bard of Fascaray--as she finds herself being transformed, awakened by the ferocity and power of the island.
Who was the celebrated poet, Grigor McWatt, The Bard of Fascaray? What was his past? Details of his life are elusive. As Mhairi struggles to adapt to her island life and put her disappointment and troubles behind her, she begins to unearth the astonishing secret history of the poet, regarded by many as the custodian of Fascaray's--and Scotland's--soul.
In McAfee's rich novel of invented island life, she interweaves extracts from Mhairi's journal entries, her discoveries and writings of McWatt, and tales of Fascaray itself into a resonant, compelling, dimensional narrative that at its heart explores identity, love, belonging and the universal quest for home.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781524731724
Characteristics: 569 pages :,music ;,25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 02, 2018

Hame, a novel formulated as the memoir of a Scottish island interloping archivist whose career consists of "sifting through dead people's garbage". MM soon becomes aware that parsing Grigor McWatt's life cannot be done exclusive of dissecting and valuing, in parallel, her own allotted span. Vindicating the decisions made along the way becomes an uncertain, faltering process. What McAfee's tome brings into focus so well is the iconic notion, and perpetually exercised option, of islands being redoubts for personal reinvention. In the novel MM cites the manifestation of incoming island migration infused with "... romantic idealists and borderline survivalists escaping cities, former lives or encroaching doom ..." . Overall, the author edifyingly sets the geographical (dreary weather to the fore) and historically contextual scene for Fascaray/Calasay, along the way the reader being presented with the opportunity to learn Scots.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top