Tales and Imaginings
By: Tim Robinson
From the two volumes of Stones of Aran to the essays collected in Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara and My Time in Space, Tim Robinson has established himself as one of the great non-fiction writers at work in the English language. In light of this, Tales and Imaginings, a collection of imaginative writings from five decades, might seem a profound departure, but to read it is to encounter anew the integrity and connectedness of Robinson’s body of work.
In the earliest stories gathered here, we recognize their author as the young Robinson, doing National Service in Malaya, whom we encountered in two searching autobiographical essays from My Time in Space; reading the most recent piece, ‘Three Notes on the Elgin Marbles’, we are reminded of Robinson’s essay on his work as a visual artist and its examination of the role of the museum. In between are stories and imaginative essays that engage in unexpected ways with the West of Ireland landscapes Robinson has described so memorably in his previous books. Most of these pieces straddle recognizable genres; for example ‘Orion the Hunter’, which can easily be read as fiction, was selected for The Best American Essays 1998.
Tim Robinson’s non-fiction writings brilliantly transcend established disciplines and styles, and he has always shown himself to be an imaginative writer of the calibre of Borges and of Sebald. Tales and Imaginings confirms that achievement.
ACCLAIM FOR TIM ROBINSON
STONES OF ARAN
‘Robinson’s Aran will, inevitably, become part of the general myth. It is a wonderful achievement.’ – Seamus Deane, London Review of Books
‘A rich and, I think, a great book … Robinson’s poetical view takes in almost everything about the place, its geology, its birds and flowers and seaweed, history and folklore and place-names and the contemporary scene.’ – George Mackay Brown, The Tablet
‘The best book ever written by an Englishman about Ireland.’ – Jonathan Keates, Independent
SETTING FOOT ON THE SHORES OF CONNEMARA
‘Here is a writer who gets the grass singing.’ – Penny Perrick, The Times
‘He has led our imaginations ever deeper into a near-Proustian labyrinth of things to see, feel and know.’ – Michael Viney, Irish Times
MY TIME IN SPACE
‘Robinson’s skill and surefootedness are now beyond doubt. As pieces of writing, these essays are an unalloyed triumph.’ – Patrick Curry, Times Literary Supplement
‘Robinson’s prose is light and pellucid, intent on conveying his enviable curiosity about the world.’ – Alex Clark, Sunday Times