THE GREEN ISLE OF THE GREAT DEEP by Neil Gunn

THE GREEN ISLE OF THE GREAT DEEP

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The sequel to Young Art and Old Hector (1991) is a novelty entry by the late Scots author (Morning Tide, 1993, etc.), whose brawny Highland tales featured hardscrabble croft and seagoing lives. Here, we have a fantasy/morality tale in which an old man and a boy fall into a planned society beneath a magic pool. One rebels, and the other has a bang-up bull session with the Big Guy. Old Hector and Young Art, pursuing a poachable salmon, are pulled into the waters of the River and find themselves...well, the what-if society they've fallen into isn't Kansas or Scotland. The place the pair invade is firmly based on the theory that a perfect, corporate, orderly state has no room for individuals who could put a wrench in the works. One prong of the society's ego-squashing attack is an edict against eating the poison fruit that grows everywhere in abundance. But Hector and Art find a mild poet whose wife (she has an outsize sympathy for the boy that proves dangerous) has made an antidote. Art darts here and there, hunted because he's disruptive--in a fuzzy sort of way he seems to represent the creative will, the natural man or something--and Hector is interviewed by steely Officials: chills for Hector, instant narcolepsy for the reader. Meanwhile, Gunn tosses about many political and psychological theories. After a rather lively trek--in which the Officials turn (literally) fishy--Hector addresses the Supreme Being. Altogether, there's too much preachifying in this biblical Animal Farm out of Star Trek, and it's with relief that the reader sees Hector and his pup back on dry land. Ponder-deep fantasy with a Highland burr: a bit off-center for the glen-and-brothy Gunn group.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1995
ISBN: 0-8027-1310-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995




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