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 The Oatmeal Ark: From the Scottish Isles to a Promised Land

After the death of his father, Beagan Gillean finds himself stranded on a wild Scottish island, alone except for a trunk full of three generations of family history. His life adrift on an empty sea, he resolves to retrace the journey his great-grandfather made two hundred years before from the Western Isles to the promised land of Canada, a home that he himself has not seen for twenty years. Immersing himself in the lives, loves, hopes and dreams of his forefathers, Gillean decides to travel as they did - not on land or by air, but by water - navigating the old water routes that ribbon through Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific. A wave-rocked, wind-tossed travel adventure unfolds, carrying him into his family s past and across the world s second-largest country. In his wake trail three ghosts: his great-grandfather, the minister-mariner; his grandfather, a paddle-wheel publisher; and his father, a boat-building broadcaster. Together they cruise up the Saint Lawrence on a lottery-winner s yacht, canoe through the lonely majesty of the northern woods and cross the Prairies by inflatable dinghy and submarine. Along the way Gillean discovers that his forefathers struggles, achievements and failings mirror Canada s own. Through their memory and the majestic landscape he reaches out to find a place of his own. A haunting tale of loss and discovery, The Oatmeal Ark is the story of one remarkable family and a candid, beautifully rendered portrait of the country that defined it.

Rory MacLean's books, including best-sellers Stalin's Nose and Under the Dragon, have challenged and invigorated travel writing, and -- according to the late John Fowles -- are among works that 'marvellously explain why literature still lives'. He has won the Yorkshire Post Best First Work prize and an Arts Council Writers' Award, was twice shortlisted for the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Prize and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 and 4. Born and educated in Canada, he lives with his family in Dorset.

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