Review: 60 Degrees North – Malachy Tallack

Somewhere in my head I had page numbers to go back to in order to pull quotes out for this review, but as I went further, I kept finding more, and ended up forgetting the multitude of numbers. Sixty Degrees North sees Malachy Tallack stop in at various destinations on the sixtieth parallel, a prominent factoid that ties them to Shetland.

Russia, Canada, Greenland – you’d think there’s only so many ways to describe North and cold, but you’d be surprised at how fluid and wonderful the writing is. No two places sound the same, each with their own character pushing through, despite some perhaps preconceived notions on certain areas.

People he meets can get a passing mention, but even the shortest moments spent with them are so well shown. The man with the bookshop marketing the parallel, the accidental labrador – they make you smile.

It’s an all-rounded journey. He sets off as some sort of escape from the troubled relationship he has with Shetland, and ends with acceptance of what is ultimately his home. No matter where in the world he goes, he brings it back to Shetland. It’s just a very nice and well-written book, reality wrapped up in lovely prose.


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