Originally published in 1954 in Scotland, this provocative if at times verbose last novel by noted Scottish writer Gunn (Blood Hunt; The Key to the Chest; The Silver Bough) tells the story of a young anthropologist whose obsession with a haunting 26-page manuscript leads him to a remote Highlands village on a search for its mysterious author. Walter Urquhart arrives at the small fishing hotel in the village of Dalaskir on a quest: to find Douglas Menzies, the author of Cliffs. When Urquhart meets Menzies, he finds a man driven to drink by the tragic death of his wife--a death eerily foretold in Cliffs. Urquhart is drawn into Menzies' search for the ""other landscape,"" the metaphysical reality beyond the physical where life's mysteries (and tragedies) can be explained. Paralleling this esoteric endeavor is Urquhart's romantic pursuit of Catherine, a young village woman. Meanwhile, comic relief is supplied by Major Thornybank (another hotel quest and the soul of British colonialism) and his interaction with the local Highlander culture. The story climaxes in a moment of unselfish heroism by Menzies--an act in which he finds the answers and the peace he's been looking for. Part philosophical discourse, part love story, part social commentary, the novel is impressive in its ambition to explore the nature of reality, although this somewhat abstract concern can get in the way of the story.