‘The Inn at the Edge of the World’, A. Ellis

I chose this book after my previous one because of the name. The name looked promising; I thought I had found a dramatic piece to read. Having finished it, I am less certain in that point, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the book.

For me, the title, ‘The Inn at the Edge of the World’, creates an image of an old house at the very edge of a cliff, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean (and I think it would be the Atlantic even if we were to talk about an American book with the same name). I was slightly mistaken since this inn has been placed on an island in the Hebrides. That setting, however, might be slightly more suitable! It certainly does justice to the image of the edge of the world (or civilization).

There are many interesting things going on in this book, but what disturbs me most is the ending. I didn’t think it logical or character-specific (for one of the two, at least). But, in a way, I suppose I understand it. It is, however, synonymous with a book that never describes the people in it in too much detail — always glossing over the details that could matter in understanding.

I would also say that it is worthy keeping in mind the good advice that if an author has not named a character, there must be a reason for it. And in this book there are a few who are without names, so I would suggest people to keep an eye out for that.

One of the impressions I got was that the author very much wanted to write a book about Gordon herself. Is the echo of the man in this work a show of respect and understanding? In many ways, I think it is, for such a literary device is splendid when used properly (and whatever mistakes in characterising people the author may have done, the passages that refer to Gordon are wonderful). Indeed, the way that the intermixed passages pique interest in the man is actually very artfully composed — for some reason it feels that more thought has gone into these lines than into the rest of the book.

So, I would say that in case you want to think of the Hebrides or Gordon, read this book.

However, firstly a word of warning. One part of this book I found very suffocating was the very old fashioned moral and social structure that the characters seemed to be upholding in their minds. The innkeeper is a good example and so are a few of the guests. At times, I nearly found that too much, an echo of times that should have disappeared. Yet, the words and lines felt so strong and real and intended…

In many ways, perhaps, I dare add as a final comment, the book serves as a reminder that we all want to escape every now and then. We want to do something unexpected, out of the ordinary. How many of us go through with those thoughts?

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