On its 90th anniversary, the debut novel – one of the most important works of Scottish modernism – from Nan Shepherd, author of The Living Mountain and The Weatherhouse
When Martha accepts a place at university, her decision is met with a mixture of hostility and pride by her uncomprehending family. This is the story of a young woman’s journey to maturity and independence, struggling to cope with the intellectual and emotional challenges that surround her, at a time when such space was rarely given freely to women.
In The Quarry Wood, Nan Shepherd’s subtle prose is matched with intense and memorable descriptions of the natural world, and a dry sense of humour. Ninety years after the first publication, it remains as fresh and original today.
“A blazingly brilliant writer, a true original”
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“Largely unrecognised during her lifetime, Nan Shepherd is finally being acclaimed for her literary legacy – and her books are influencing a whole new generation of writers”
“Shepherd found her own path in life and in literature, and it feels like she’s so far ahead of us … philosophically and stylistically, she was extraordinary”
“Brilliant … Its conflation of ardent philosophising and blunt everyday speech, rendered in vivid dialect, provides a glorious palette”
the List, 100 Best Scottish Books
Anna (Nan) Shepherd was born in 1893 and died in 1981. Closely attached to Aberdeen and her native Deeside, she graduated from her home university in 1915 and for the next forty-one years worked as a lecturer in English. An enthusiastic gardener and hill-walker, she made many visits to the Cairngorms with students and friends. She also travelled further afield – to Norway, France, Italy, Greece and South Africa – but always returned to the house where she was raised and where she lived almost all of her adult life, in the village of West Cults, three miles from Aberdeen on North Deeside. To honour her legacy, in 2016, Nan Shepherd’s face was added to the Royal Bank of Scotland five-pound note.