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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wild Harbour (1936) by Ian Macpherson

Book Review
Wild Harbour (1936)
by Ian Macpherson

  I can't remember the last 1001 Books title that hasn't had it's own Wikipedia page.  Wild Harbour, by Scottish novelist Ian Macpherson has to be one of the most obscure titles thus far simply for that reason.   It's a shame that Wild Harbour is so obscure, because it is actually one of my top ten books for the last 12 months or so.  Half survival narrative in the fine tradition of Robinson Crusoe and his progeny, half dystopian futurism,  Wild Harbour also features a well observed Scottish highlands(?) locale and an engaging love story between the two lead characters, who pack up and leave in the early days of a (fictional) World War II set some time in the near future.

   The transition from traditional-ish survival story to a depiction of an anarchic English country side is a clear influence on popular current dystopian narratives:  Fans of The Road by Cormac McCarthy and the book or movie version of Children of Men will recognize the influence of this book on those books.  Generally speaking, the world-systems perspective of serious fiction is conservative, with authors firmly rooted in the upper-middle class concerns of property inheritance and marriage protocol, with an increasing interest in corresponding concerns among the working classes.  The idea of writing fiction in a world where government is absent is not particularly new, but the setting that world after the collapse of the current social system is.  Wild Harbour merits attention for its early depiction of a post-apocalyptic landscape.

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