The Silver Darlings

Sometimes life serves some pleasant surprises. I recently received one when I revisited my bookshelf and found, among my Faber & Faber Classics collection, a book I hadn't yet read.

The book is a novel by Niel M. Gunn, that gives a very realistic and believable story about a boy, Finn, growing up in Dunster in North-East Scotland just after the end of the napoleonic wars.

The title refers to the herring, which is what brings riches to the people and the region. You are taken on a journey of fishing, gutting and curing, as well as the political efforts of the British government to increase foreign trade.

The story is written very much out of Finn's perspective, and we get to follow him from the point of his mother Catherine being pregnant, through to his marriage.

I found this book enchanting and an easy read. The style is very straightforward, and the structure is strictly chronological, which helps you take part in Finn's growing up. The people are all very much alive, which makes this a timeless piece of writing, in spite of it depicting a very distinct period in history. I strongly recommend it.

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