Armstrong, B. 2010. Sable Island. Second Edition: Formac Publishing Company Limited, Halifax NS B3H 1J4, 192 pages. (First edition published in hardcover in 1981 by Doubleday Canada Limited, and reprinted in softcover in 1987 by Formac.)
Review (Cindy Clancey):
The hills are shadows, and they flow
From form to form, and nothing stands;
They melt like mist, the solid lands,
Like clouds, they shape themselves and go.
One only has to peruse the first few pages of Bruce Armstrong’s “Sable Island” to realize that this is not a typical exposé of Sable fact and trivia. In addition to being well researched and informative, Armstrong lures the reader on a spiritual odyssey. He explores his own fascination with the island and cites accounts of others who have experienced Sable through time. His eloquence, use of poetry and poignant photographs by Zoe Lucas add an insightful dimension to an intriguing subject.
Many other books written about Sable Island tend to focus only on scientific and or historical accounts. Do not expect the same from this book. Armstrong offers an intimate and passionate view of the subject. He uses many tools to achieve this end and offers many opportunities for the reader to understand the relevance of Sable Island as it was and continues to evolve. Like the dunes, the Sable Island story is somewhat elusive and constantly changing.
Sable Island is an extraordinary place on many levels – aesthetically, historically, culturally, scientifically, and spiritually. Armstrong exposes each of these layers and then skillfully puts it all into perspective. Although the original copy of “Sable Island” was published in 1981, his message is timeless. The reader will emerge from this literary encounter with a deeper appreciation for what it is that captivates the hearts and minds of those who have been touched by the island. The time has come to introduce this creative and thought provoking work to a new generation.
Cindy Clancey, July 2011
Prepared for the Green Horse Society