The Summer Isles

Philip Marsden

Published: 3 October 2019
Hardback, Royal HB
156x234mm, 352 pages
ISBN: 9781783782994

Other Editions


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Published: 7 May 2020
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 352 pages
ISBN: 9781783783007

Ebook Available

About the author

Image of Philip Marsden

PHILIP MARSDEN is the award-winning author of a number of works of travel, fiction and non-fiction, including The Bronski House, The Spirit-Wrestlers, and The Levelling Sea. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his work has been translated into fifteen languages. He lives in Cornwall. More about the author


‘[Marsden] writes beautifully...In these islands at the edge of the Atlantic, staring out into "the endless blue of the west", he finds a rich tradition of myth, poetry and ancient lore that still speaks to us across the gulf of time... memorable and indeed magical



The Summer Isles is a gazetteer of toponyms that conjure a scintillating watery world’

A triumph. It is unlikely that a finer travel book will be published all year

‘A truly remarkable writer’ Robert Macfarlane

‘By turns exhilarating and hauntingly poetic, this is a memorable book, full of reflection and wonder... sublime

‘His ambitious route takes him up the west coast of Ireland where his passion for Celtic mythology and the Irish language has full play. This long summer's voyage is as thickly littered with poets and singers as with rocks and headlands, and only the weather proves unaccommodating’

‘Marsden brings characteristic elegance and insatiable curiosity to bear on his voyage; we are whisked along as passengers, alternately enchanted by this unforgettable coastline and apprehensive of its treachery. Even the most dogged land lubber cannot fail to be exhilarated by these stiff salt breezes’ Madeleine Bunting

‘Philip Marsden's lovely book is full of [stories], dredged up from the rich tradition of ancient and medieval literature... Best of all are the people Marsden encounters’

‘Reading Philip Marsden's voyage to the Summer Isles is the only time in my life I shall want to be lost at sea. Shimmering, profound, and deeply mesmerizingJohn Lewis-Stempel

‘Set sail on limpid prose in this wonderful peregrination up the west coast of Britain and Ireland. There is no better guide to the deep and dazzling meanings found on the western fringe of Europe than Philip Marsden'’ Patrick Barkham

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