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Seal Morning

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  91 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Published April 1st 1988 by Trafalgar Square Publishing (first published January 1957)
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The Viking's Apprentice by Kevin McLeodOutlander by Diana GabaldonMacbeth by William ShakespeareTrainspotting by Irvine WelshThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Best Scottish Fiction
224th out of 277 books — 197 voters
Waterlog by Roger DeakinH is for Hawk by Helen MacdonaldFindings by Kathleen JamieCrow Country by Mark CockerThe Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane
British and Irish Nature Writing
55th out of 119 books — 67 voters

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Community Reviews

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Rebecca Foster
(3.5) Here’s an obscure nature classic for animal lovers who can’t get enough of Gerald Durrell and James Herriot. It was a bestseller and a critical success when first published in 1957, and the fact that it has been reprinted several times in the new millennium is testament to its enduring appeal. It’s the account of seven years Farre spent living in a primitive Scottish croft (no electricity or running water) with her Aunt Miriam, starting at age 10. Despite an abrupt beginning, a dearth of d ...more
Back in 1985 or so, I saw the "Wonderworks" film version of this story, a memoir about raising a pet seal, on TV, and was utterly enchanted (I suspect I would do well to leave my pleasant memories intact and not seek it out on DVD).

A couple years later, when I was starting college and visited for the first time the used bookstore which was to become my favorite used bookstore of all time (alas, it no longer exists), I found a well worn vintage mass market of the book, on which I pounced and qui
May 30, 2013 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came back to this and one or two other books following recent holidays to Scotland, and have enjoyed re-reading them all, but for me, this is the one that I cherish the most. There has been continued speculation over the years as to whether this beautiful book is entirely factual, or partly fantasised by its author - certainly Rowena Farre was by all accounts a secretive person (her real name was Daphne Lois Macready) and known facts about her are comparatively few, as all her life she shunned ...more
Dec 05, 2009 Tint rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: animal lovers, nature lovers
Shelves: animals
This book is for any animal lover. I was both entertained and educated. You wouldn't think you'd get chuckles out of a life out in the wilds of Scotland, but I laughed out loud a few times. A brilliant book! No child should grow up without reading it. That goes for adults too :)
Michael Fierce
Seen in the movie Ondine.
Mark Hundley
Charming, highly romanticized memoir of remote life in Sunderland County, Scotland during the 1920s/30s. As a young of girl of 10, the author leaves England with her aunt to live a crofting life (i.e. a subsistence life) in Sunderland along the northernmost coasts of Scotland. They take with them a few pets and acquire more, wild and domestic, during the seven years there including Lora, a Common Seal, Hansel and Gretel the otters and a half-dozen or so more. There life with the animals as well ...more
I found this book difficult to assess as I could not really decide which parts were real and which were Rowena's flights of fancy. I found the descriptions of the landscape and the crofting life wonderful but was troubled by the narrative concerning the animals, which I was very uneasy and disbelieving about. Ultimately I was left feeling somewhat dissatisfied and troubled, though the style of her writing was lovely; it just sat too uncomfortably with my morals in a way that, strangely, Durrell' ...more
Sep 26, 2011 Lynne rated it really liked it
Published in the 1950s, this is the enchanting story of a retired school teacher who takes her young niece and a menagerie of animals to live in a croft in a remote part of the Scottish highlands. Several hours walk from their nearest neighbour, they had no electricity and no means of communication apart from a pony trap to collect fortnightly supplies in summer. In spite of this, their life was healthy and deeply fulfilling. Sprinkled throughout the book are exquisite charcoal drawings of the a ...more
Akhil Ayarottil
Jan 22, 2016 Akhil Ayarottil rated it really liked it
Loneliness. Wilderness. A seal. Otters. A pet dog that saved her from the fog, then went rogue that had to be put down. Flights of fantasy? Or was it real? Hardly matters. What does matter is that even today, there are places on our planet where similar events could happen. Does that make it timeless? I don't know. But when I was born in the place where I was born, no phone, no tv, not even the concept of internet and and plenty of misguided adults trying to ruin my life. Holy mackerel, it was h ...more
Oct 03, 2011 Victoria rated it it was amazing
A gem of a book. Warm hearted. Escapist. And an insight into the old ways of the Scottish crofters.
Jan 01, 2013 Ape rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 29, 2007 Korynn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: pet lovers
Shelves: non-fiction
The author at the age of 10 went with her aunt (in a very British fashion her father lived in India and so she went to live with her aunt in the UK) to live on a croft in very rural Scotland. They were an unusual family because of their love for pets. They had two squirrels, a rat, two otters, a Common Seal, two goats, a pony, a dog and the list goes on. This book details all of their pets and the seven years they spent living the middle of nowhere with them. Three of their pets (which are for t ...more
Laura Macdonald
Jan 02, 2015 Laura Macdonald rated it it was ok
I'm not quite sure what to make of Seal Morning. It's a nice book in some ways and kept me reading until the end, but it's also an overly-romantic piece of escapism; I was irritated by the parts that were clearly fantastical, and angered by animals dying due to ignorance. Gerald Durrell she is not.
Feb 13, 2014 Clark rated it really liked it
My great uncle's sister gave me this book back in 1961. I loved it then and I love it now.
Emily Evans
Feb 10, 2010 Emily Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not exactly Literature- however, it is immensely interesting and beguiling in the manner of Robinson Crusoe. Because it is true and very unusual- a period of time spent in a landscape (Sutherland) far from human comforts and in the company of many small animals. It tells of daily resourcefulness, and patient observation. Life lived close to wilderness- a great lesson in the value of nature as it educates us to a greater degree of keen awareness & humility, perhaps.
Oct 14, 2014 Stephen rated it really liked it
Shelves: animal-stories
Read this probably 55 ago, thought of it again when entering Ring of Bright Water as a favorite. Both are disturbed idylls in the Western Islands. Those who love ROBW might like this a lot. As I recall it is meant for a younger readership, has more to do with children than Gavin Maxwell's very eremitic life.
Jan 30, 2012 Conrad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming story of a couple of plucky women (the author and her aunt) who chose to live the crofter's life for several years in the 1950s, far from anyone, in the wilds of Scotland. Their relationship with their animals was quite remarkable and the description of their encounters with wildlife equally amazing. This book deserves a place on the bookshelf next to Gavin Maxwell's "Ring Of Bright Water".
lynne naranek
Jun 28, 2008 lynne naranek rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2006, 1980s
Enthralling even after all these years - the tale of a young girl and her aunt living in a croft out in the middle of nowhere, and the animals in their life. Again, it was good to reread this book after so long.
Nov 30, 2013 Alison rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book, will make you happy, sometimes sad and will make you laugh. I read it in two days, couldn't put it down.
Aug 06, 2013 Margareth8537 rated it really liked it
This is a fictionalised and idealised life of a childhood spent in pre-war Sutherland. A beautiful book to read
Jillian Hunter
Aug 11, 2015 Jillian Hunter rated it it was amazing
Interesting story based upon the authors memories about her life between the ages of 10 and 17.
Jul 23, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Cindy Faulkner
Shelves: biography
A most wonderful book about life in the Highlands of Scotland living at one with nature.
Loved it!
Amity Shook
Feb 19, 2008 Amity Shook rated it liked it
I learned about seals and living in the wild. Intersting close-up look at animals.
Nov 03, 2008 Eliame added it
To be read...

I have asked someone to read it
simultaneously with me.
Margaret Boehm
Jul 23, 2010 Margaret Boehm rated it it was ok
Allan rated it it was amazing
Apr 29, 2016
Kathy Ulincy
Kathy Ulincy rated it liked it
Apr 15, 2016
Gert rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2016
Victoria marked it as to-read
Apr 28, 2016
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“Really there are very few adults these days who possess the mental and emotional self-sufficiency necessary for leading satisfactory existence in these remote parts.
When the day light lasts for only five or six hours, when the Never Silent - as the Norsemen called the wind - howls down the corries and the snow is lying so deep that even the deer are unable to reach the croft in search of food, then one learns what it means to be cut off from the outside world, and either one grows to accept and appreciate spells of complete isolation, or else the isolation begins to sap one's confidence and to terrify.”
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