Monday, December 25, 2006

In the Name of the Father in Law

I guess having a bit of time off - kinda - these last few days has allowed me to get around to a few things I'd been meaning to do for a while. This installment sees me posting a wee bit of info on my father in law, to acknowledge one recent milestone in particular. So here it is...

My father in law, J. Laughton Johnston, is a great guy in a variety of ways. He's a naturalist, a poet and - most recently - a novelist. His context is particularly Scottish. For that matter, his focus is quite often on the Shetland Isles, where he resides with his wife, Patricia. They've got a crazy-picturesque cottage at the edge of northern seas, with views of cliffs and seals and killer whales, etc.. I've been there. It's lovely, in a brutal, windblown sort of way.

Anyway, he's written several books on natural history topics. They include the titles shown on this post, and also A Naturalist's Shetland.

You can find them at But of even more recent interest is his new novel, A Dream of Silver.

It's published by the Shetland Times and a bit harder to get in the US, but it's orderable at It's the story he was meant to write, really, partly a coming-of-age story and partly a coming-to-rest tale, with a healthy injection of Scottish lore thrown in, most notably in the figure of the pirate Long John Silver and with the looming presences of Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott hanging over it all. It's an authentically Scottish rumination on literature and imagination, aging and childhood. Oh, and there's lighthouses in it, too.



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