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TITLE
'The Dark of Summer'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_ERIC_LINKLATER
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Eric Linklater
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1315
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'The Dark of Summer' by Eric Linklater, first published in 1956. It is read here by Kristin Linklater.

'For an hour or so the trawler's movement was easy enough. But gradually, its small and playful rolling became a progress in which we rose and fell with ponderous deliberation. Gravely, the well flared bow came up and with unhurried gravity descended into a trough of the waves. This movement continued for another hour, two hours perhaps, and by a change of imperceptible growth turned into a worried, even nervous motion. Now waves rose up and smote our ship and the shudder of their impact was communicated to all her parts. She sank now, not into smooth valleys of the sea, but with a tumble into steep and barbarous glens. Sometimes the waves caught and held her so that she had to shake herself to get free of them. She would rise with the lift of a balloon but only to be punched in the side and fall again. Inside the ship, there was a constant groaning and creeking.

The wind was on the port bow and towards it the waves came hurrying in long thin ridges, leaden grey, showing white teeth in snarling grimaces. Over wrinkled hollows they impended with implacable ferocity and here and there shot up in a jaunty white plume of spray. But the general colour of the attacking sea was a very dark, glistening grey. On the starboard side, from which the waters fled, the sea was grossly patched with white as though turning belly-up, the malignant waves revealed a torturing salt leprosy that drove them howling round the world. On the weather side the wind beat with a continuous shrill bellowing and over the weather bow rose high arcs of spray; often the whole bow dipped and flung not a curtain or a cloud but a wave itself upon the deck, where it fell with a dull and shuddering roar then broke to white and swept away as if across a half tide rock. Under the lea-side bent over the sea there raced always a thick and hissing spray.

Now the gail was at its height but the moverment of the sea was still increasing; it was no longer merely very rough, it became a huge and vehement and abysmal violence on which roughness supervened. Now the movement came from great depths that had been slow to answer the gail's demand but now, as it seemed, were rolling in a cosmic tide from whose gigantic billows rising dark and high above the bridge, the storm tore a continuous spray and in whose sickening troughs an undertow or contrary swell often laid us low upon our side. Into these deep valleys of the sea, the trawler sank and shuddered. Then, with its bow pointing to the sky and the gun on its forward deck aiming at high clouds, it climbed to mountainous and tattered crests that filled its main deck with white water and with a roll and a twist rushed down again out of the wind, but into the rearing menace of the next, great wave. Time lost its ordinary measure. Time was measured only by the black hills we must climb, the monstrous valleys into which we swooped.

There was no sun, but for a little while a half transparent cloud let through a meager light that silvered the ragged tops of impending waves and scored more deeply the wind cut runes in the sucking, swirling hollows beneath. Ridge after broken ridge in endless precession, the howling of the gail, the deck vanishing under a cascade of water and the little ship with its little company of men tumbling madly, groaning and protesting but holding its course and fighting stubbornly mile after mile towards the south.'

Eric Linklater came from a sea-faring family whose roots were in Orkney and Scandinavia, although he was born in Penarth, Wales, in 1899, and moved to Cardiff in 1900. In 1913, the family moved to Aberdeen, where Linklater began a medical degree at the University in 1916. In the same year he joined the army, and in 1918 resumed his medical studies, which were never completed. He was appointed as the assistant editor of 'The Times of India' in 1925, before moving to America, where he had a fellowship from 1928-1930.

Linklater's first novel, 'White-Maa's Saga', was published in 1929. In 1933 he married Marjorie MackIntyre, and, after living in Italy and Scotland, moved the following year to Harray, Orkney, to a house which is now the Merkister Hotel. Based there for the next thirteen years, he was always restless and did much travelling, to India, China, America and Europe, where he researched and wrote a steady stream of novels, including 'Juan in America', 'Magnus Merriman' and 'Private Angelo'. During the Second World War Linklater joined the Royal Engineers, and founded the 'Orkney Blast' in 1941. In 1947, the family moved to Pitcalzean House in Ross-shire. Linklater died in Aberdeen, in 1974, and was buried in the Harray churchyard in his beloved Orkney, overlooking Merkister and the loch where he spent many hours fishing.

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'The Dark of Summer'

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Eric Linklater

This audio extract is from 'The Dark of Summer' by Eric Linklater, first published in 1956. It is read here by Kristin Linklater.<br /> <br /> 'For an hour or so the trawler's movement was easy enough. But gradually, its small and playful rolling became a progress in which we rose and fell with ponderous deliberation. Gravely, the well flared bow came up and with unhurried gravity descended into a trough of the waves. This movement continued for another hour, two hours perhaps, and by a change of imperceptible growth turned into a worried, even nervous motion. Now waves rose up and smote our ship and the shudder of their impact was communicated to all her parts. She sank now, not into smooth valleys of the sea, but with a tumble into steep and barbarous glens. Sometimes the waves caught and held her so that she had to shake herself to get free of them. She would rise with the lift of a balloon but only to be punched in the side and fall again. Inside the ship, there was a constant groaning and creeking. <br /> <br /> The wind was on the port bow and towards it the waves came hurrying in long thin ridges, leaden grey, showing white teeth in snarling grimaces. Over wrinkled hollows they impended with implacable ferocity and here and there shot up in a jaunty white plume of spray. But the general colour of the attacking sea was a very dark, glistening grey. On the starboard side, from which the waters fled, the sea was grossly patched with white as though turning belly-up, the malignant waves revealed a torturing salt leprosy that drove them howling round the world. On the weather side the wind beat with a continuous shrill bellowing and over the weather bow rose high arcs of spray; often the whole bow dipped and flung not a curtain or a cloud but a wave itself upon the deck, where it fell with a dull and shuddering roar then broke to white and swept away as if across a half tide rock. Under the lea-side bent over the sea there raced always a thick and hissing spray.<br /> <br /> Now the gail was at its height but the moverment of the sea was still increasing; it was no longer merely very rough, it became a huge and vehement and abysmal violence on which roughness supervened. Now the movement came from great depths that had been slow to answer the gail's demand but now, as it seemed, were rolling in a cosmic tide from whose gigantic billows rising dark and high above the bridge, the storm tore a continuous spray and in whose sickening troughs an undertow or contrary swell often laid us low upon our side. Into these deep valleys of the sea, the trawler sank and shuddered. Then, with its bow pointing to the sky and the gun on its forward deck aiming at high clouds, it climbed to mountainous and tattered crests that filled its main deck with white water and with a roll and a twist rushed down again out of the wind, but into the rearing menace of the next, great wave. Time lost its ordinary measure. Time was measured only by the black hills we must climb, the monstrous valleys into which we swooped. <br /> <br /> There was no sun, but for a little while a half transparent cloud let through a meager light that silvered the ragged tops of impending waves and scored more deeply the wind cut runes in the sucking, swirling hollows beneath. Ridge after broken ridge in endless precession, the howling of the gail, the deck vanishing under a cascade of water and the little ship with its little company of men tumbling madly, groaning and protesting but holding its course and fighting stubbornly mile after mile towards the south.'<br /> <br /> Eric Linklater came from a sea-faring family whose roots were in Orkney and Scandinavia, although he was born in Penarth, Wales, in 1899, and moved to Cardiff in 1900. In 1913, the family moved to Aberdeen, where Linklater began a medical degree at the University in 1916. In the same year he joined the army, and in 1918 resumed his medical studies, which were never completed. He was appointed as the assistant editor of 'The Times of India' in 1925, before moving to America, where he had a fellowship from 1928-1930. <br /> <br /> Linklater's first novel, 'White-Maa's Saga', was published in 1929. In 1933 he married Marjorie MackIntyre, and, after living in Italy and Scotland, moved the following year to Harray, Orkney, to a house which is now the Merkister Hotel. Based there for the next thirteen years, he was always restless and did much travelling, to India, China, America and Europe, where he researched and wrote a steady stream of novels, including 'Juan in America', 'Magnus Merriman' and 'Private Angelo'. During the Second World War Linklater joined the Royal Engineers, and founded the 'Orkney Blast' in 1941. In 1947, the family moved to Pitcalzean House in Ross-shire. Linklater died in Aberdeen, in 1974, and was buried in the Harray churchyard in his beloved Orkney, overlooking Merkister and the loch where he spent many hours fishing.