Year of the Sheep
A Novel of the
2021 BookLife Prize
Blurb: A fusion of the gothic novel and Virginia Woolf, this book delights in storytelling. Something mystical looms in Bartlett’s writing, making it a tale just as enchanting as its folklore.
Nobody fights harder for hearth and home than the Scottish woman
Scotland 1805. Most of the clan chiefs of old had become simple landlords, and they decided it was far too expensive to care for their people as they had for centuries. And they realized they could realize great profits by renting their land to the sheepherders.
And so they ordered the Clearances...the people must be removed and the sheep men moved in.
But in Sutherlandshire in Scotland's Far North, the clan chief, a woman, discovered that her people, mostly women of the glens and straths, did not want to go.
Year of the Sheep is the epic story, based on actual events, of what happened when the women of Scotland decided to make a stand and defend their homes.
Plot: Without one main character, Year of the Sheep masterfully presents a stream of consciousness that creates an out-of-body experience, where the reader seamlessly drifts from one interior to the next. Sodden with detail, it is a work that can be marveled for its geographical, economic, and political structure.
Prose/Style: Bartlett manipulates the English language, so every word possesses feeling. With prose that are plain-spoken yet polished, he writes with a modesty that is skillful yet entirely approachable. The formal language is somber and nostalgic, which feels appropriate for the Scottish setting. Bartlett merges the physical with the emotional to create a warm, rich, and quaint landscape.
Originality: Bartlett reveals his 30 years of research with his thorough retracing of the Highland Clearances. His background in journalism seeps into his storytelling, as it is structured, concise, and never muddled. Despite the sobering events, the author manages to include a subtlety in his humor—a technique that captures an unmistakable British wit.
Character Development/Execution: The author maintains precise control over every conscience. In a narrative with over 40 recurring characters, he manages to create three-dimensional personalities that each approach a conflict and a denouement. The book demands its readers’ attention, but the end result is like a completed puzzle. When the townspeople sit around the fire sharing old Celtic myths, there is a satisfaction that comes with knowing each person’s voice and their personal story.
Other books by James Y. Bartlett
A tunnel collapse in Boston's Big Dig project unleashes a storm of crime and political maneuvers in James Y. Bartlett's noirish new thriller.
Bartlett's light-hearted look at his experiences on the bag for some of golf's greatest players ever! Plus bonus material on all things caddies and caddying.
Two recent non-fiction books written with the expertise and knowledge from members of the Professional Caddie Association. Cover links go directly to Amazon.
In the Press
More than simply mysteries, though, the books also are a celebration of golf. About the game's traditions. About its code of behavior.
Romps right along. Bartlett knows how to tell a story.
The Dick Francis of golf.
One of the most prolific golf and lifestyle writers of his generation, James Y. Bartlett spent his career as both an editor (Golfweek, Caribbean Travel & Life, Luxury Golf) and freelance writer (Forbes FYI, Hemispheres, Esquire, Departures, Bon Appetit and dozens more).
His first Hacker golf mystery was published in 1991 and now encompasses seven popular inside-the-ropes mysteries. He has written three other novels and a half dozen non-fiction books as well.
Bartlett currently lives and works in Rhode Island.