Stones of Aran

Pilgrimage

By Tim Robinson; Robert MacFarlane (Introduction by)
(New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590172773, 395pp.)

Publication Date: August 5, 2008

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Description
The Aran Islands, in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland, are a unique geological and cultural landscape, and for centuries their stark beauty and their inhabitants' traditional way of life have attracted pilgrims from abroad. The Aran Islands, in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland, are a unique geological and cultural landscape, and for centuries their stark beauty and their inhabitants' traditional way of life have attracted pilgrims from abroad. After a visit with his wife in 1972, Tim Robinson moved to the islands, where he started making maps and gathering stories, eventually developing the idea for a cosmic history of Arainn, the largest of the three islands. "Pilgrimage" is the first of two volumes that make up "Stones of Aran," in which Robinson maps the length and breadth of Arainn. Here he circles the entire island, following a clockwise, sunwise path in quest of the "good step," in which walking itself becomes a form of attention and contemplation.
Like Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" and Bruce Chatwin's "In Patagonia," "Stones of Aran" is not only a meticulous and mesmerizing study of place but an entrancing and altogether unclassiļ¬able work of literature. Robinson explores Aran in both its elemental and mythical dimensions, taking us deep into the island's folklore, wildlife, names, habitations, and natural and human histories. Bringing to life the ongoing, forever unpredictable encounter between one man and a given landscape, "Stones of Aran" discovers worlds.
Robinson's voyage continues in "Stones of Aran: Labyrinth.



About the Author
Tim Robinson is an acclaimed writer who has also published collections of essays and maps of the Aran Islands, the Burren, and Connemara, in addition to his books. He has lived in Connemara for nearly twenty years.

Robert Macfarlane is a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. His first book, "Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit," won a number of prizes in England and was a "New York Times" Notable Book. He has contributed to numerous publications including "The Times Literary Supplement" and "The London Review of Books,"
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