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Islands Book Trust

Circles of Light. Memories of an Islay Childhood

Circles of Light. Memories of an Islay Childhood

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This book will be released on 16th August. Any advanced orders including this title will be shipped for delivery around this date.

James Knox Whittet was born and brought up on the Hebridean island of Islay where his father was the head gardener at Dunlossit Castle, as it was then called, in the 1950s and 60s. James, the youngest of a family of five, was born just 6 months after his family came to live on the island. This memoir vividly describes his childhood, with all its extraordinary beauty and freedom, on a large private estate. However, he does not shy away from depicting the darker aspects of life and his mother's struggles to adapt to the island in those decades when the island's traditional culture was itself having to adapt to change.

The book is wistful, poetic and evocative of a time and a place... This is a lyrical and magnetic account of a boyhood on a wonderful Hebridean island. It is absorbing and moving. I could not stop reading. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen

I know James Knox Whittet as a poet, and a fine one at that. I came to his memoir with some anxiety, fearing that as many autobiographical accounts are, it would be turgid and suggest far too much of a whitewashed past. I had no need of such anxieties. Here are sharply observed vignettes painting vivid pictures of home life, school life and life of the Scottish island of Islay. Each chapter is so evocatively written that I came away from my reading with scents and sights still vivid in my mind. It's a fine piece of writing by an author profoundly aware of what it truly means to be alive, and by what it means to live deeply. Kenneth Steven

Published: 2024

Author: James Knox Whittet

ISBN:  978-190744388-6

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