Dangerous and mysterious ends


John and Carole E Barrowman
Hollow Earth
Buster Books 2012

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.” — William Blake

A good forty or more years ago we visited Great Cumbrae off the west coast of Scotland for the first and so far only time. It was winter, the New Year in fact, we were entirely inappropriately dressed (loons, for heaven’s sake!), we had meant to take the ferry to Arran but had come to the wrong port, and we were young and inexperienced. There was nothing to do but walk round the island (it kept us warm, at least!) and catch the ferry back to Largs, so that’s what we did. So it was a bit of a shock recently to pick up the Barrowmans’ book Hollow Earth and discover that the island of Auchinmurn in the story was recognisably Great Cumbrae by another name (called after their Scottish grandmother, we are told). True, some of the geography was changed, even the orientation, but John Barrowman, who was born in Glasgow, and his older sister Carole Emily will surely both have had strong childhood memories of the island (no doubt from that same period in the early seventies) and will have tried to infuse that excitement into the writing of Hollow Earth. Continue reading “Dangerous and mysterious ends”