1- Two locations: * Canada ( off the east coast of the Magdalen Islands, in the Gulf of the St Lauwrence River),
” A string of big and small islands linked by causeways and sandbanks… Oddly, it formed an overall shape not unlike a fish-hook …”
* The Hebrides off the north western coast of Scotland.
2- A very small English-speaking community of about 130 souls, on the decline, surrounded by French Canadian speakers
3- A rich lobster trader’s murder
4- A ring, a pendant, a painting, diaries
5- History: The Highland Clearances, Immigration, Deportation, The cultural decline of the Clan system, potato famine at the beginning of the XIXth century …, climate change … a “shameful period of Scottish history” as Peter calls it ,lasting for more than 100 years.
6- A detective and suspect with Scottish roots
An enthralling and fascinating novel by Peter May. An epic tale with a highly psychological tint to it. A continuous interaction between past and present which glued me to the book with a better and vivid insight into Sctottish and Canadian History. A novel exploring how the past, haunts and informs the present.
I couldn’t help thinking about what is going on in Europe with the massive migration flow coming from the Middlle East right now. One day, one of these migrants will probably write a novel about it. Hopefully he or she will be as talented as Peter May. Today, the ” Calais Jungle “ is supposed to be dismantled, such a shameful place to France and England, which is somewhat reminiscent of the dreadful Quarantine Station on Grosse Ile described by Peter May in his novel.
It also reminded me of a statue I saw on the Liverpool docks when visiting Britain last time. It is related to the Irish strong wave of emigration to the American continent triggered by the potato famine, mass starvation ( between 1845 and 1852) and the ruthlessness of Anglo-Irish absentee landowners.