Like several of his other books, McPhee's The Crofter and the Laird
is about people whose lives are still very much entwined with nature. But this particular volume carries added depth and feeling because McPhee is writing about his ancestral land, the island of Colonsay in the Scottish Hebrides. Crofter and the Laird
is no starry-eyed and naive "back to the land" tract: McPhee describes the rigors and difficulties of this life with the same attention to detail he gives to the simple beauty of the land and lifestyle. Colonsay is a stark region of stone and seals and sheep and storms, with its residents still living under a feudal system of farmers, crofter, and lord. But McPhee honors this homeland with a rich work that would make his ancestors proud.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
McPhee brings to his book about the island of Colonsay in the Scottish Hebrides a visual precision and a grace of language that are quite rare. (Harper's
A small masterpiece of penetrating warmth and perception. (Charles Eliot, Time
One always has the sense with McPhee of a man at a pitch of pleasure in his work, a natural at it, finding out on behalf of the rest of us how some portion of the world works. (Edward Hoagland, The New York Times