After the death of his father, Beagan Gillean finds himself stranded on a wild Scottish island, alone except for a trunk full of three generations of family history. His life adrift on an empty sea, he resolves to retrace the journey his great-grandfather made two hundred years before from the Western Isles to the promised land of Canada, a home that he himself has not seen for twenty years. Immersing himself in the lives, loves, hopes and dreams of his forefathers, Gillean decides to travel as they did - not on land or by air, but by water - navigating the old water routes that ribbon through Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
A wave-rocked, wind-tossed travel adventure unfolds, carrying him into his family’s past and across the world’s second-largest country. In his wake trail three ghosts: his great-grandfather, the minister-mariner; his grandfather, a paddle-wheel publisher; and his father, a boat-building broadcaster. Together they cruise up the Saint Lawrence on a lottery-winner’s yacht, canoe through the lonely majesty of the northern woods and cross the Prairies by inflatable dinghy and submarine. Along the way Gillean discovers that his forefathers’ struggles, achievements and failings mirror Canada’s own. Through their memory and the majestic landscape he reaches out to find a place of his own. A haunting tale of loss and discovery,The Oatmeal Ark is the story of one remarkable family and a candid, beautifully rendered portrait of the country that defined it.
Rory MacLean's books include best sellersStalin's Nose andUnder the Dragon.He has won the Yorkshire Post Best First Work prize and an Arts Council Writers' Award, was twice shortlisted for the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Prize and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary award. Born and educated in Canada, he lives with his family in Dorset.
"A truly wonderful writer who has delved into the human condition around the world for two decades to create a canon of work that is invigorating, heartbreaking, hilarious, slyly seditious and ultimately illuminating." --Toronto Sun
"Such a book as this rather marvellously explains why literature still lives and can remain such a pleasure. Maclean has a vivid novelistic gift." --John Fowles, Spectator
"Delicious, fizzing with energy and incident… One of the most original and innovative travel books for years, elegantly written, beautifully observed, often very funny. Buoyant as helium with a wind at its back." --Alexander Frater, The Observer
"An arresting book which speaks in a vigorous and original voice." --Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Sunday Times
"Original and fiercely imaginative." --Tim Herald, Literary Review
"Remarkable; entrancing, lyrical, singing prose." --BBC Kaleidoscope
"A remarkable, beguiling journey; so polished, so clever, so imaginative, so artful, so innovative." --Financial Times
"A fabulous adventure story, wise, witty and never self-indulgent, as if Jack London had - in a fit of absent-mindedness - joined forces with Jane Austen." --Alberto Manguel, Author
"Rory MacLean is one of the most strikingly original and talented travel writers of our generation." -- Katie Hickman Author