Even as he grew up on the edge of Lewis, the vastness of Russia never felt too distant for Donald S Murray. Its great literary traditions were often discussed in his home village, while the political unrest and religious fervour that marked its past and present were occassionally reflected in his life on the island.
Inspired by the Russian canon, the songs, verse and stories contained within these pages draw upon the experiences of his youth, shifting continually between myth and history, the absurd and moving, the satirical and everyday. Its extraordinary and diverse narratives underline the truth of its opening verse:
I can see these islands mirror Russia.
The machair’s sweep reflect the steppes
while moors multiply tenfold,
transformed into tundra,
with houses squat in Arctic winds
that shake the fragile edges
of both tree and man.