Windswept by Anne Worsley: Review
When I started out as a writer I was told by a very experienced editor, ‘keep description to a minimum, keep the action moving or you’ll bore your reader’. For me, Windswept just has too much description - poetic, painterly though it is, the need to be original is sometimes strained too far.
Description is wonderful in itself, but not for 300 pages. I wanted a personal narrative to tie together the accounts of sunrises, sunsets, storms, seascapes and mountain views. I wanted more probing into the deep ecology of the landscape, the need to change how we live in it for the future. There is very little about the author’s personal journey and her struggle with crofting. Was there any?
The Highland Clearances are skimmed over. And at the end of the book there’s no real conclusion – a good book, particularly in ecoliterature, should change your outlook just a little, offer hope or stir you into action. My favourite piece was the return of the corncrakes. On the whole I enjoyed the book, though I felt that an editor with a red pen and a firm hand would have improved it considerably.
Don’t let that put you off! Immerse yourself in ‘Life, Nature and Deep Time in the Scottish Highlands’. It is, after all, endorsed by Robert Macfarlane!