10 Books Inspired by The Peatlands of Europe
Sparks from the peat-fire flame
It may have been the influence of the peat-fire on our family croft, but over the years I have read many books that conveyed something of the atmosphere of the moorland. They range from Siegfried Lenz’s The German Lesson, set among the salt-blown peat-bogs of Schleswig-Holstein, to the haunting Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, where Jacob Beers emerges from the depths of a bog in the novel’s opening. The landscape plays its part in much of Irish writing, from Heaney to Michael McLaverty, the absurd world of Flann O’ Brien, the Irish midland towns portrayed by John McGahern.
There’s its role, too, in Scottish writing – from Iain Crichton Smith in the Hebrides to Richard Hannay stumbling through the bogs of Dumfries and Galloway in The Thirty-Nine Steps, the work of Neil M. Gunn to the more recent His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnett.
And that’s all without mentioning the Bronte family, or Shakespeare, with both King Lear and Macbeth experiencing visions on the heath.
No wonder it plays an important role in the distilling of many of Scotland’s most potent whiskies.