A boy leaves Glasgow and moves to Linicro on the Isle of Skye.
The notion has all the hallmarks of an enticing story about growing up with insights into the emotions of a young man as he comes to terms with the challenges that are implied. Except “Skye Stories Volume 1 The Linicro Years” by Raymond Moore isn’t a story as such , it is a collection of reminiscences . It is also an intensely personal undertaking , and that in a sense is both a strength and a weakness.
If you are close to Skye if you are close to Mr Moore, then it will have a resonance that could be very compelling. You may love this book.
It talks about a young man transitioning from a life in Glasgow to live with Great Granny and Great Aunt Margaret in Linicro on Skye, it speaks of the challenges and the rewards of that change of; scenery, life and expectations and relationships for a young man in his very formative years . It tells us of the usual awkwardness of those years, friendships made, people respected, some loved. We are introduced to the delights of the Wee Hoose and the Big Hoose and the challenges that come about in 1970s Skye when not every convenience was …convenient.
Along the way you will meet people who Raymond knew, and learn a little of them. That perhaps is one of the challenges I have in reading this book, there are tantalising snippets of people who you want to know more about . Great Granny for instance sounds like a fascinating character worthy of a lot more attention and just as you get excited about Great Uncle Murdo so the story skips away to another adventure that Raymond has. You hear about how much respect he has for Norman, but tell us more?
You have to admire Raymond’s powers of recollection. Would I recall with such detail my younger years ? No absolutely not, and he explains why he was able to do this . He works in Saudi Arabia and due to the COVID crisis found himself separated from his family and thought “ what to do?’ With encouragement from friends as a result of their appreciation of his Facebook recollections about Skye he put virtual pen to virtual paper and this book is the product . You have to admire that .
As a piece of oral history recorded and as something that is an important family archive this book is of immense value. But as an insight for someone who really doesn’t know about Skye, it has less relevance . It is a personal record not a story, less history than a series of recollections that are recorded without the need or intent to be connected .
The book has three mediums , prose poetry and images . I’m a writer, I also write poetry and I am a photographer, so that should all work for me, but somehow it doesn’t. The poetry follows many of the stories. Collected and as a kind of growing up Epic the poetry could tell an interesting tale, but too often it seems to restate what you have just read in prose and loses its capacity to give insight because of that. You already know where it is going and that take the edge off of its value.
The images are by and large the kind you would have in a personal album. nothing wrong with that, they have charm of their own and it is really good that these have not been discarded. That is something I really value.
I wanted very much to enjoy this book . I can see how each story told can be charming , but for me as a collection it is less engaging .That is an important caveat . You may have entirely different expectations .