As the Women Lay Dreaming: a novel of the Iolaire disaster


by Donald S. Murray


‘A powerful book…history brought to life through fiction, and when it is done in a manner as moving and beautiful as this it is invaluable’ – Alistair Bradwood, Scots Whay Hae

‘He writes with an inherent understanding of Highland culture, language and way of life’ – The Herald

Paperback: 227 pages

Publisher: Saraband, 2018

Language: English

In the small hours of January 1st, 1919, the cruellest twist of fate changed at a stroke the lives of an entire community.

Tormod Morrison was there that terrible night. He was on board HMY Iolaire when it smashed into rocks and sank, killing some 200 servicemen on the very last leg of their long journey home from war. For Tormod – a man unlike others, with artistry in his fingertips – the disaster would mark him indelibly.

Two decades later, Alasdair and Rachel are sent to the windswept Isle of Lewis to live with Tormod in his traditional blackhouse home, a world away from the Glasgow of their earliest years. Their grandfather is kind, compassionate, but still deeply affected by the remarkable true story of the Iolaire shipwreck – by the selfless heroism and desperate tragedy he witnessed.

A deeply moving novel about passion constrained, coping with loss and a changing world, As the Women Lay Dreaming explores how a single event can so dramatically impact communities, individuals and, indeed, our very souls.

Donald S. Murray comes from Ness at the northern tip of Scotland’s Isle of Lewis and now lives close to ‘the Ness’ at the southern end of Shetland. Donald’s prose and poetry is often about islands and the wildlife on and around them. The men who hunt young gannets every year on the island of Sulasgeir, off the north-east coast of Lewis, were the inspiration for his books The Guga Hunters and Praising the Guga. Gannets also feature in his wonderfully eclectic collection The Guga Stone: Lies, Legends and Lunacies of St. Kilda, shortlisted as one of The Guardian‘s Nature Books of 2013.


Additional information

Dimensions 12.9 × 1.8 × 19.9 cm

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