Call of the Undertow

Call of the Undertow A beautifully written haunting tale of motherhood guilt myth and redemption set on the rugged coast of Caithness at Scotland s furthest edge When Maggie Thame a childless forty something from Oxfo

  • Title: Call of the Undertow
  • Author: Linda Cracknell
  • ISBN: 9781908754301
  • Page: 157
  • Format: Paperback
  • A beautifully written, haunting tale of motherhood, guilt, myth and redemption set on the rugged coast of Caithness at Scotland s furthest edge.When Maggie Thame, a childless forty something from Oxford, relocates to a remote village at Scotland s most northern edge, it s clear she s running away But to the villagers the question remains, from what Pursuing her career asA beautifully written, haunting tale of motherhood, guilt, myth and redemption set on the rugged coast of Caithness at Scotland s furthest edge.When Maggie Thame, a childless forty something from Oxford, relocates to a remote village at Scotland s most northern edge, it s clear she s running away But to the villagers the question remains, from what Pursuing her career as a freelance cartographer, she lives in self imposed isolation, seeking refuge in the harsh beauty of her surroundings This is disturbed when she falls into an uneasy friendship with Trothan Gilbertson, a strange, other worldly local nine year old Like Maggie, it s unclear where Trothan really comes from, and what secrets might be lurking in his past The lives of both become intertwined, with violent consequences that will change the destinies of woman and boy forever, forcing Maggie to confront the tragic events that first drew her to this isolated place.In this, her debut novel, award winning writer Linda Cracknell explores themes of motherhood, guilt, myth and the elemental forces of nature in a lyrical, taut and haunting account of damaged lives seeking redemption.

    • Call of the Undertow >> Linda Cracknell
      157 Linda Cracknell
    • thumbnail Title: Call of the Undertow >> Linda Cracknell
      Posted by:Linda Cracknell
      Published :2019-05-18T07:27:16+00:00

    About " Linda Cracknell "

  • Linda Cracknell

    Linda Cracknell writes short stories, novels, drama for BBC Radio Four, and creative non fiction She won the Macallan Scotland on Sunday short story competition, and was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book Award for her story collection Life Drawing Neil Wilson Publishing, 2000 and the Robin Jenkins Literary Award for environmental writing Her second story collection A Searching Glance was published by Salt in 2008 She was the recipient of a Creative Scotland Award in 2007 for a project linking walking and writing Linda edited the anthology A Wilder Vein Two Ravens, 2011 and has contributed wide range of other anthologies and magazines She lives in highland Perthshire.

  • 374 Comments

  • I really enjoyed this. I read it while on holiday in Sligo and Donegal, on the beach, while looking at the same Ocean (more or less) that the protagonist was walking beside in the story. I found this a fast yet atmospheric read. The language is poetic and simply beautiful (my own language has failed me here). The feeling is of being isolated among the beauty Scotland’s most northerly coast. The central protagonist is Maggie, a cartographer. She has left her in Oxford full of bakeries and socia [...]


  • This book was 100% not for me. Everything (the premise, the fact that a kid is one of the main characters, the writing style) was screaming "Do not pick me up!". But I had to, because it was in the November Moth Box. In a sense I'm glad I discovered a new author & I'm still really interested in picking the other book up, but it just wasn't for me. The plot was uninteresting for me - we followed Maggie as she started living in a remote village in Scotland (a really fascinating setting, I admi [...]


  • I loved this, and, actually, the more I think about it, the more I grow to love it. This book has a quiet, understated power. The setting, on the wild northern coast in Scotland, was perfection, perfectly atmospheric, adding to the subtle spookiness and mystery of the story. Cracknell beautifully describes the crashing waves of the coastline, the sounds seabirds, and the creepiness of abandoned buildings around an insular, vaguely unwelcoming village. New arrival, our protagonist Maggie, is attr [...]


  • Maggie Thame has relocated to the atmospheric Caithness Coast of Scotland from Oxford, England. Forty, childless and newly single, she harbours a deep guilty feeling of shame. She longs to escape her memories and start life anew. Still, she is plagued by disturbing dreams of a girl's tiny red polka dot shoe"An hour or two's walk helped with ideas for work as well as keeping her body from seizing up and rescuing her mind from its shadows."A freelance cartographer, Maggie can work from anywhere, s [...]


  • DNF page 89, 35%I had high hopes for this book when I bought it early last year - it seemed to contain themes and settings I absolutely love. But, alas, it didn't deliver. The writing style very much suits the story, but didn't suit my tastes. There is much description of the land around where Maggie lives, but it's done in the style of cartography, meticulously naming where natural structures are in relation to others and using many topographical and botanical words I was unfamiliar with. If I [...]


  • From a Scottish writer who deserves to be better known, the spooky and atmospheric tale of the connections between a troubled mapmaker and her mysterious young protégé.The northern Scottish setting and the power of history and mythology will certainly remind readers of Sarah Moss’s Night Waking and Amy Sackville’s Orkney, but Cracknell’s is a more satisfying story than either of those novels, with strong prose building the subtle and memorable suspense plot.Cracknell masterfully evokes t [...]


  • Big thanks to Mercedes for introducing me to this book through her Moth Box. It was such a beautiful book. So atmospheric, akin to the way Burial Rites was atmospheric, and also something that really dug into your heart and stuck there. I get really attached to the characters and was very invested in what was happening and hoping for this outcome or that. It was just a very beautifully written, quite, subtle book that had be absolutely addicted.


  • Loved the rural setting, all the descriptions of the village, seaside and Scottish wildlife was excellent. Just the atmosphere and nature in general was captured really well, I think I enjoyed the descriptions of the scenery more than the story. Not that the story was bad, it was just very quiet and slow going. There were only two prominent characters. Maggie and Trothan, and there wasn't much going on apart from them developing a friendship of sorts through map making, and there were some eleme [...]


  • A lovely book, atmospheric, shocking and fascinating. It’s about a cartographer (which is a mapmaker, but you knew that…) who moves to an almost blank space on her map – the north coast of Scotland - where she works on an atlas about Nigeria at the same time as learning about the many layers of truth about the not even slightly blank landscape she’s living in. The plot is moved along by a visit to a local school to talk about maps and atlases, which leads to an odd friendship with a boy [...]


  • I received this book in the first MothBox subscription box and am really glad I had the opportunity to read something I never would have normally picked up or heard about. It is a fascinating and subtle read following the cartographer Maggie Thame as she moves to a remote village in Scotland to seemingly get away from something horrible that has happened in her life. She seems desperate to keep herself to herself, but that isn't always possible in such a small village with questions being asked [...]


  • I want to wallow in the cold Scottish waters of this story but this book was a full on 5 star read for me.I received this through my Moth Box Books Subscription box this month and is published by Freight Books a smaller and new publisher to me. Linda Cracknell's scenic and character descriptions draw you in and pull you like a harpie to the sea's of the northern Scottish coastline.The main story is that of Maggie, a female cartographer who has moved away from her Oxford home to escape the encomp [...]


  • A beautiful, mesmerising book. I've been a fan of Linda Cracknell's writing for years and her first novel didn't disappoint. Her descriptions of the countryside, coastline and people of the far north of Scotland are poetic and arresting, her turns of phrase original and devastating, "sleeplessness had made a blade of her" being my particular favourite. The plot draws the reader through without being overdone and over-prominent and the novel ends on a perfect note of melancholic optimism. Now I'v [...]


  • The long awaited first novel from Linda Cracknell doesn't disappoint. Written in her usual confident style, this story of a young woman trying to come to terms with a past tragedy is subtle and yet intriguing. Great sense of place.



  • I was recommended this book by a friend who reviewed it in Northwords Now a few months earlier. I bought it and read it and enjoyed it so much that I chose it for my local book reading club.Interestingly, on a first reading I would have given it 3, maybe 4 stars at most. It's well-written, some engaging descriptions of the location and the heroine's interaction with Trothan (the young boy). But the plot seemed a little unsure of itself at times. However, after reading it a second time it became [...]


  • "Call of the Undertow" is refreshingly original and superbly written. In a nutshell: following a personal shock, Maggie Thame, a cartographer, feels the need to be alone, so she moves to one of the most remote parts of Scotland. Shortly after she arrives, she develops an unusual relationship with a young boy called Trothan Gilbertson and from there, the story leads to a tragedy. In many respects Trothan became my favourite character: I could not decide exactly what motivates him and whether he i [...]


  • This is a wonderful book. Earlier reviewers have said it took them a while to get into it, so I'll say here that it didn't take me any time at all. I thought it was gripping and really mesmerising from the very start. It's a beautiful, mysterious, exciting story, and genuinely original. I especially enjoyed how Cracknell deals with unusual relationships - the kind of relationship that people aren't sure you should have. She has a perfect, light touch with this, and with the idea of being alone - [...]


  • Linda Cracknell's "Call of the Undertow" is poignant, subtle, captivating, and stays with you long after you've finished it. It focuses on cartographer Maggie Thame who has relocated from England to the north of Scotland following a trauma which we don't initially understand. We're shown how a cartographer makes a map in layers, which is also how the book reveals itself. A strange young boy, Trotham, forges a troubling relationship with Maggie, who only partially grasps the secrets within the sm [...]





  • A book which draws you from the beginning. It tells the story of Maggie Thame who runs north to Dunnet Bay, the furthermost northerly point she can find in a bid to leave her past behind. However living in the Bay where the sheer cliffs meets the might of the sea she finds herself slowly captured, like a seal in a fishing net, into the community. In an area where the true force of nature shapes the landscape and reminders of the past are just a few feet away in ruins, sand dunes and rusting equi [...]


  • Great to get to know another author that I had never read before. I rather enjoyed the writing style and the mysterious feel the story puts out. I rarely do in depth reviews right after I finish a book because I prefer to take time to let it sink in before i put my thoughts out there. Thank you Mercedes for putting out the Moth Box, I am looking forward to the other book from the box as well as the next Moth Box.


  • I didnt think that I am a fan of this book. I wanted to skim parts of the book but I should not to. I wouldnt read this book if this is not compulsory. The plot is not enganging. It is not a page-turner. It started static, the plot moves very slow, some parts did not elaborate very well leaving them hanging unrevealed (though perhaps because it is the writing style?) i dont know. But, too many questions unanswered


  • my first reading list and definitely my first Irish-Scottish Contemporary women's fiction.All aspects of the novel are a brand new experience for me (i guess i dont read a lot of books then). the storyline, the character, the description, all of them are totally alien for meyway, its a good book tho. full of thoughtful message


  • 2.5. I can't really decide what I think of this book. It took me a long time to read as I didn't really ever feel that I got into the book. I liked the images of the area of Scotland that the book helped me imagine but I didn't really enjoy the story or like the characters that much.


  • Lovely and so evocative of place. Gently leading, slowly revealing the story, storm-tossing expectations. Satisfying.


  • It took me a while to get into this one but it's worth persisting. The author evokes the area well and the modern retelling of the selkie myth is nicely done.



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