The Crofter and the Laird
In 1969, John McPhee brought his family to live, for a season, on Colonsay, the island home of his Scottish ancestors. McPhee is a wonderful prose stylist and the master of paraphrase, which he uses here to spectacular effect. He captures the rhythms of Scotland without tartan-tinted tourist nostalgia. He understands that brutally hard times can be worth remembering and even cherishing, but that we would never want to relive them. And somehow he anticipates the intertextuality of modern historical stylists like Ed Ayers, long before intertextuality became a word.