Review: The Blackhouse by Peter May


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo.

Quercus, 2011. Paperback edition. ISBN: 978-1-84916-386-6. 502 pages.

The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy, #1)

A murder has occurred in the remote Isle of Lewis off the coast of northern Scotland. The MO resembles the Leith Walk case which took place in Edinburgh a few month earlier. To assist in the investigation, Detective Fin Macleod, the investigating officer of the first murder, returns to his birthplace after eighteen years of absence. The second victim Angus Macritchie, a couple of years his senior, was from his home village. Macleod knew him from his school years. Angus together with his younger brother were the school bullies. Upon his arrival to the island, the story evolves in alternative chapters. Those that take place at present are narrated in the third person. Macleod’s childhood is narrated in the first person. The past events, as we can easily suspect, are closely linked to the murder.

I find it difficult to explain why I’ve liked this book that much. Perhaps for its excellent prose capable of transporting us to unknown and far away territories of singular beauty. Or it may be for making us feel other’s feelings like jealousy, envy or revenge. All this can be found in this book and much more, even a love story. The descriptions of life and landscape are outstanding and I’ve found fascinating the scenes related to the Guga Hunt. A book of a rare beauty that I’ve very much enjoyed.   

The Blackhouse was first published in French under the title L’Ile des chasseurs d’oiseaux at the end of 2009 after being turned down by all major British publishers, and won several prizes (Prix des Lecteurs at Le Havre’s Ancres Noires Festival in 2010, the French national literature award, and the 2011 Cezam Prix Littéraire Inter CE.) The Blackhouse is also the first book in a trilogy, and I’m looking forward to reading soon The Lewis Man, the second in the trilogy.

My rating: 5/5. 

The Blackhouse has been reviewed by Marilyn Stasio at The New York Times, Amanda C M Gillies at Euro Crime, Maxine at Petrona, at Shade Point, Bernadette at Reactions to Reading, Sarah at Crime Pieces, Calum MacLeod at Shots Crime & Thriller Ezine, J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet, Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, Cathy at Kittling Books, lings, Danielle at A Work in Progress, among others.   

Peter May’s Homepage

Quercus

Sterling Publishing 

Peter May speaks about “The Blackhouse”

The Guga Hunters of Ness

 

La isla de los cazadores de pájaros de Peter May

La isla de los cazadores de pájaros (Peter May)

Se ha cometido un asesinato en la remota Isla de Lewis frente a las costas del norte de Escocia. El modus operandi es similar al caso Leith Walk, que tuvo lugar en Edimburgo, hace algunos meses. Para ayudar en la investigación el detective Fin Macleod, el oficial encargado de investigar el primer asesinato, regresa a su ciudad natal tras dieciocho años de ausencia. La segunda víctima Angus Macritchie, un par de años mayor que él, era de su pueblo. Macleod lo conocía de sus años escolares. Angus, junto con su hermano menor eran los matones de la escuela. A su llegada a la isla, la historia se desarrolla en capítulos alternativos. Aquellos que tienen lugar en la actualidad están narrados en tercera persona. La infancia de Macleod esta narrada en primera persona. Los acontecimientos del pasado, como se puede sospechar con facilidad, están estrechamente vinculados con el asesinato.

Me resulta difícil explicar por qué me ha gustado tanto este libro. Tal vez sea por su excelente prosa capaz de transportarnos a territorios desconocidos y lejanos de singular belleza. O puede ser por hacernos sentir sentimientos ajenos, como celos, envidia o venganza. Todo esto se puede encontrar en este libro, y mucho más, incluso una historia de amor. Las descripciones de la vida y el paisaje son excepcionales y he encontrado fascinantes las escenas relacionadas con la caza de gugas (crias de albatros). Un libro de una rara belleza que he disfrutado mucho.

La isla de los cazadores de pájaros se publicó inicialmente en francés con el título L’Ile des chasseurs d’oiseaux al final de 2009 después de haber sido rechazado por las principales editoriales británicas y ganó varios premios (Prix des Lecteurs en el Festival Noires Ancres de Le Havre en 2010, el premio nacional francés de literatura y en el 2011 el Premio Cezam de literatura Inter CE.) La isla de los cazadores de pájaros es también el primer libro de una trilogía, y estoy deseando leer pronto El hombre sin pasado, el segundo en la trilogía.

Mi valoración: 5/5.

Reseña en castellano en Carmen y amig@s

Grijalbo

Peter May (Página en español)

18 thoughts on “Review: The Blackhouse by Peter May

  1. Great review! I loved this book, but I have to say I thought The Lewis Man was even better. May gives a very sympathetic picture of an elderly man suffering from dementia and I found that and the plotline very moving. It’s his descriptive writing that I love – his sense of place. He spent years visiting Lewis while filming a Gaelic TV show there and you can tell he knows the place and the people intimately.

    1. Thanks for your visit and comment FictionFan. Glad to hear The Lewis Man is even better. I’ve just discovered your blog, and I’ll certainly dig into it.

  2. Jose Ignacio: I must get out to the Hebrides in this series. A young associate in my office included one of the islands in his visit to Scotland and it was a highlight of his trip.

  3. Wonderful review Jose and think you’ll enjoy the next two in the series as well. A brilliant trilogy with a perfect evocation of a beautiful yet unforgiving landscape.

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