Nairn is best

Neal Ascherson

  • Nairn: In Darkness and Light by David Thomson
    Hutchinson, 303 pp, £12.95, April 1987, ISBN 0 09 168360 2

Some sixty years ago, when David Thomson was a boy, he suffered from a condition that badly affected his eyesight. He could see, but poorly. He read Braille and, though this was forbidden, the printed page. On two occasions, when the condition grew worse, he was condemned to spend six weeks at a time lying on his back in a darkened room. In general, all heavy physical exertion was banned. His mother sent him away from London to live with her family at Nairn, in north-eastern Scotland, on the shore of the Moray Firth. The years that he passed there built the emotional and imaginative foundations of his life.

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