BETWEEN EARTH AND PARADISE by Mike Tomkies

BETWEEN EARTH AND PARADISE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The English author of My Wilderness Wildcats (1978), now ensconced on a lovely island off the Scottish coast, is one of those ardent amateur naturalists keen on homey field observations--mainly, of fauna--and eager to detail the travails of ""natural"" living. On Shona, Tonkies rebuilt a battered cabin after floating and carting materials over exhausting distances; he traversed wicked water in an often inadequate craft; in all kinds of witchy Highland weather, he jaunted for supplies. (Once, the winds were strong enough to pop bricks from an old croft foundation--while at the homestead, ""the wooden walls of the croft were bulging inward; the roof chattering madly."") Tomkies, a touchingly gentle soul, is an inveterate rescuer of wounded animals--among them, a heron with a broken ""toe,"" and a sparrow hawk and a gull, both with wing trouble. (A chilled beetle is even brought in the house for a warm.) There are amusing interludes--night mice using Tomkies' footwear to store barley, Tomkies ""chasing"" a mobile bank. There are hair-raising voyages; loving observations; an occasional crisis--as when the need to protect the islands' sheep puts Tomkies' natural abhorrence of fox kills to severe test. The main wilter is Tomkies' tiresome moralizing and his rather frenetic analysis of the sadnesses and joys of his solitary state. Middling armchair adventure, then--with a Highlands scenery bonus.

Pub Date: March 5th, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday