Elemental Nearing the end of her life Meggie Tulloch takes up her pen to write a story for her granddaughter Laura It begins in the first years of the twentieth century in a place where howling winds spin sa

  • Title: Elemental
  • Author: Amanda Curtin
  • ISBN: 9781742585062
  • Page: 279
  • Format: Paperback
  • Nearing the end of her life, Meggie Tulloch takes up her pen to write a story for her granddaughter, Laura It begins in the first years of the twentieth century, in a place where howling winds spin salt and sleet sucked up from ice floes A place where lives are ruled by men, and men by the witchy sea A place where the only thing lower than a girl in the order of thingsNearing the end of her life, Meggie Tulloch takes up her pen to write a story for her granddaughter, Laura It begins in the first years of the twentieth century, in a place where howling winds spin salt and sleet sucked up from ice floes A place where lives are ruled by men, and men by the witchy sea A place where the only thing lower than a girl in the order of things is a clever girl with accursed red hair A place schooled in keeping secrets Thirty years after her grandmother s death, Laura receives her notebooks and discovers the painful past that Meggie spent a lifetime trying to forget Moving from the north east of Scotland to the Shetland Isles to Fremantle, Australia, Elemental is a novel about the life you make from the life you are given.

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    1 thought on “Elemental”

    1. Book Review – Elemental by Amanda CurtinThere are so many aspects of this book that snagged my heart that I would need to do several reviews to do justice to all those aspects. So I will content myself in this review at least, by saying that this is a deeply believable book, deeply forgiving and deeply lyrical. As with all of Amanda Curtin’s work, the language is achingly beautiful, the characters are raw and real and the story has the sweep of an elegy.When Meggie Duthie, former herring gir [...]

    2. So nearly 5 stars. This is a beautifully written story about Meggie, born in NE Scotland at the end of the 19th century. At the end of her life, she is writing her memoirs for her granddaughter before her memory fades or she dies. She talks about the harshness of a life tied to the sea. Her family were fishermen and she became 'a herring quine', employed to gut the herring before they were layered in pickling barrels. Her work took her to Lerwick in Shetland and Great Yarmouth in England. Eventu [...]

    3. Elemental is Amanda Curtin’s second novel and it is a huge work, richly researched and steeped in atmosphere. It takes the reader on a geographical and chronological journey – from the isolated fishing village of Roanhaven on the north-east coast of Scotland at the turn of the twentieth century, to the vast, blue skies of Fremantle, Western Australia, during war-time. It ends in 2011, in the hills around Perth.Meggie Tulloch, nee Duthie, sets out to write her life story for her grand-daughte [...]

    4. As you know if you saw the Sensational Snippet that I posted about Amanda Curtin’s new novel Elemental, I loved this book. Curtin is an author of exceptional talent and in this novel she tugs at the heartstrings without being maudlin, sentimental or twee. This is one of those novels that is at once both tender and brutal so that the reader becomes emotionally bound to the world that has been so skilfully created, not wanting to stop reading and yet not wanting the book ever to end.The central [...]

    5. I'm not naturally drawn to historical fiction, but I was utterly captivated by the story of 'Fish Meggie' - a girl born into a poor fishing village on a remote coast of Scotland in the 1890s and the many unexpected turns her life took.The novel is in the form of a diary, written by Meggie, in her old age, for her granddaughter. Often I find the trope of an older person looking back on their life distancing, but occasionally (think 'The Blind Assassin') it really works and this is the case with M [...]

    6. The story of Meggie Tulloch will become a classic. Amanda Curtin shares 'Fish Meggie's' extraordinary life-- from the north of Scotland, to the Shetland Islands, to Fremantle in Western Australia. And within Meggie's story Amanda expresses, through a subtlety and beauty of language that is the hallmark of her prose, a deep-felt humanness that connects us all. I recommend Elemental to everyone. See my review essay, The Year's Work in Fiction, in the Australian journal Westerly 59.1

    7. A fine historical novel that spans the course of one woman's life from the Scottish fishing village of her birth, in late 19th century, to her new life as an emigre in Fremantle, Australia.To read my review in full, please visit my blog.

    8. I loved this novel.I’ll never forget little Fish Meggie, the Gutting Girl from the Top of the World. I’ll never forget the woman she became; the woman who speaks to her ‘Lambsie’ in an endearing Scottish brogue. She shares her agonies, of which there are many; her delights, of which there are few. The delights are dotted neatly throughout, so, whilst this is a sad novel, poignant and painful, it is not entirely grim; rather, the small joys shine, diamond clear, aching in their beauty.The [...]

    9. For anyone with a nostalgic yearning for the good old days, who fancies living in a small fishing village, this book is a great antidote. Set in Scotland in 1903, this novel begins by depicting the main character Meggie and life in a village where children are merely workhorses and women have a life time of being controlled and what is basically a mean and miserable existence. Meggie eventually emigrates to Fremantle in 1914 and it was at this point I realised it had to be an Australian author. [...]

    10. Elemental is not only a well-crafted story filled with fascinating historical facts, it is a beautiful exploration of the human condition. Reaching above and beyond the life of a herring girl to touch universal themes such as love,loss and regeneration, this novel will give most readers something to identify with.I know that Meggie's wise, poetical and lilting voice will stay with me for a long time to come.

    11. Margaret Duthie Tulloch is a storyteller whose bedtime tales of Fish Meggie, the Gutting Girl from the Top of the World, delight her granddaughter Laura, her “lambsie”. She promises to write those stories down for Laura, and though her Lambsie has grown up and Meggie is dying, she manages to write it all out, but rather than a series of whimsical stories, Meggie Tulloch writes her own story.  It’s an extraordinary tale of life in a small insular fishing town called Roanhaven, as “far no [...]

    12. The best read I've had in a while. Evocative- I felt the cold ,I smelt the sea & experienced the lives of characters.I tagged pages of my book & read passages again & again.My favourite " when things change, something new enters the space you live in,something you must move with,turn to, chafe against,until you ease a new shape for yourself.But something is lost,too, in the changing, some small piece of your world gone for good.Her description of the " preposterous puffin"on page 143 [...]

    13. Just started this after finishing an enjoyable but definitely chick lit book. Amazing how after only 4% and the story barely begun I just know it's going to be 4 or 5 stars. The writing draws you in and affects the clarity with which you see what is going on in a way that fun filled writing does not. I see a Mother's Day on the sofa curled up with the kindle!Have just finished this beautiful lyrical book. Betty I think you would love it! Adored the writing of 'fish meggie' telling the story of h [...]

    14. Amanda Curtin possesses what can only be described as a supernatural ability to evoke the world of young Meggie in Northern Scotland and Fremantle in the early 1900s. Reading Elemental is like holding hands with Meggie as she endures hardship and heartbreak, finds love and forges a life for herself in a new colony in an old country. A superbly written novel. I loved it. 6 de May 20:52 · see review

    15. Australian author Amanda Curtin's third book, Elemental, is a beautifully realised novel about fisher girl, Meggie Tulloch, and the incredible legacy she leaves her granddaughter, Laura, in the pages of her notebooks.I read Elemental over a month, savouring every word of Amanda Curtin’s lovingly-crafted prose. It is an emotional novel about family, memory, secrets, superstition, loss, hardship, and which celebrates love in all its forms. Elemental will mean something different to every person [...]

    16. "Elemental" is a fearsome-beautiful book. Split into four sections, "Water" (1891-1905), "Air" (1905 - 1909), "Earth" (1910 - 1932) - which take the form of first person notebooks written by Meggie Duthie Tulloch to her grand daughter "lambsie" (Laura) in the 1970s - and a coda "Fire" (2011), "Elemental" charts the life of a "gutting girl from the top of the world" as life takes her from North-East Scotland, to the Shetland Islands to Fremantle in Western Australia. It's a 432-page book - parts [...]

    17. This year there were two notable books that could be described as atmospheric. The first, for me, was Hannah Kent's highly anticipated Burial Rites. The second was Elemental. Written by Perth local, Amanda Curtin, this book takes its structure from the four earthly elements of Water, Air, Earth and Fire and travels almost the entire length of the globe, from Roanhaven Scotland, to Fremantle Western Australia. Like Annabel Smith's Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, Curtin's book is self reflexive and takes [...]

    18. Amanda Curtin is the author of novels Elemental, The Sinkings, and a short story collection, Inherited. Elemental was shortlisted for the 2014 WA Premier’s Book Awards (Fiction and People’s Choice categories). Curtin asks the reader to consider questions of morality through a prism of passing decades and the changes that occur to societal norms and expectations throughout these years. Although this sounds like a challenging, dry and unappealing task, Curtin’s achingly sad but beautiful wri [...]

    19. This is Meggie Tulloch's story as told to her granddaughter at the end of her life.A fisherman's daughter brought up in North-East Scotland. An unbelievably hard life. she left to work in the Shetland Isles as a gutting quinie. It was here she met her husband Magnus Tulloch and from there they made their way to Fremantle.This is a long heart-wrenching story of Meggie and Magnus and I loved every second of it. Amanda Curtin is a very gifted writer. I could feel the salt spray on my face and smell [...]

    20. This novel blew me away. I loved the writing, the way the author wove the different threads of the story together, and how cleverly it moved between Meggie and her granddaughter's life. There was a lot of overlap between this story and my own family. I loved reading about Meggie's emmigration to Perth WA and hearing my grandma's stories in her voice too. This is a very sad novel, but one that I would gladly read again. It's hard to say what precisely is so special about it but it's one of those [...]

    21. I finished reading Amanda Curtain's novel Elemental by candlelight during a power outage in Melbourne in the middle of a recent heatwave, and I felt as though I've been given a precious gift. Exquisitely crafted and vividly realised, Elemental is a big, generous book; there is so much I loved about it that it's hard to know where to begin.The first three-quarters of the book are narrated by Meggie Duthie Tulloch in the form of notebooks she is leaving for her granddaughter Laura, whom she touchi [...]

    22. I am a relative newcomer to historical fiction, but the fact that I have read my second Amanda Curtin book in a fairly short period of time speaks volumes of the author's skill in constructing interesting and realistic stories that pick you up as a reader and sweep you along on a true journey.Meggie Tulloch is advancing in her years and has made a pact she will record stories from her early life in the wilds of Scotland for her granddaughter Laura, whom she affectionately calls Lambsie. We soon [...]

    23. This is an exquisite book, beautifully written with a strong and extremely engaging central character. Meggie Tulloch, born in the far Northern reaches of Scotland in 1896, writes her story to be handed on to her granddaughter. Meggie's voice is wonderful, warm and yet unflinching about the hardships of life. Her life starts in Roanhaven, the youngest child in a family of sea folk who fish for a living. Life is very hard, and women work from morning to night, looking after the men who go to sea, [...]

    24. Elemental is 'Fish Meggie' 's story, told to her granddaughter Laura, through a series of handwritten notebooks.Split into four sections, Water, Air, Earth told from Meggie's perspective and Fire told from Laura and Laura's Daughter in Law, Avril's perspective.Meggie's life starts in Roanhaven, where she is the youngest child in a poor family. Life is tough - the area is dominated by the sea. The sea which is both godlike and witch like in its powers.Days are long, and unable to help with any ma [...]

    25. Elemental has a myriad of themes within it , all in lyrical prose that picks up the landscape and wraps its around you just like Kitty's silk scarf. Indeed it was her, Kitty's, story that was most heartbreaking - it was heartbreaking before the tragedy, when such a fierce girl had said she never would, but she did, bear a man on her shoulders through the water so he could land dry on the fishing boat. Therein lies the story of millions of women, so proud, so fierce, so trapped in tradition and f [...]

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