Set in the wild and remote landscape of Eday, part of the Orkney archipelago, Close to Where the Heart Gives Out is the unflinchingly honest and moving tale of rural life, from the only doctor on the island.
As a young boy, Malcolm Alexander knew exactly what, and who, he wanted to be. He dreamt of becoming a doctor; he was mesmerized by the process of illness and obsessed with preventing it. He wanted to help others. In his forties, Malcolm gave up his job in suburban Glasgow when a persistent seed that had been growing inside started to bloom, disrupting the foundations of his life. When he saw the job advert, 'urgent: Island doctor needed', he applied immediately. What he didn't anticipate is how much Orkney would affect his family, for better or worse. In stories that range from the humorous to the deeply moving, Malcolm describes what it's like adjusting to life without modern conveniences and to the extreme - and constantly changing - weather; and what it means to be providing the best medical care to the local population with limited resources. Which often includes the wildlife as well. Malcolm's journey evokes the awe that the Orkney landscape can inspire, as well as the challenges of island life and the demons that the dark, cold winter months can give birth to. Gripping and beautifully written, Close to Where the Heart Gives Out reminds us of the importance of listening to our heart, as well as to the rhythms of the landscape.
“[An] utterly enchanting casebook” DAILY MAIL
“A fascinating memoir... an ode to island life in all its glorious foibles and hear-soaring delights” THE HERALD