Stones of Aran: Labyrinth

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9781590173145
Tim Robinson’s Stones of Aran is one of the most striking and original literary undertakings of our time. Robinson’s ambition is to find out both what it is to know a landscape, know it as extensively and intimately as possible, and what it takes to make that knowledge, the sense of the landscape itself, come alive in writing. It is a project that draws on the legacies of Thoreau and Joyce, to which Robinson brings his own polymathic gifts as cartographer, mathematician, historian, and, above all, shaper of words.

In Pilgrimage Robinson walked the entire coast of Airann, largest of the Aran islands. In Labyrinth he turns in to the island’s interior. These two books—parts of an inseparable whole that can, for all that, be read quite separately from each other—constitute a vast polyphonic composition, at once encyclopedic and lyrical, scientific and surprisingly personal. Exploring the illimitable complexity and bounty contained in the seemingly limited confines of a single island, Robinson invites us to look without and within and to see the wonder of the world.