Lynn Michell


When you are alone, adrift and displaced, how do you find yourself?

Set on a small Scottish island, The Water All Around Us is a poignant novel about loneliness, roots and belonging.

Recently arrived crofters’ child Fenn is troubled by being different and not fitting in. Incomer and marathon swimmer Jess is running away from personal tragedy. A young whale, separated from his pod, swims in the wrong direction and embarks on an arduous, heart-breaking journey. All three are at home in the water, but when their lives connect in the sea that fringes the white sand beaches, their paths converge and collide with disastrous consequences.

Under the surface of this thought-provoking novel are messages, carried quietly and bravely by the whale, about the damage we are doing to our oceans.

‘A meditation on loss, longing and belonging.’
– Derek Thomson, Thomas Bladen thrillers, Long Shadows, West Country Murder.

Paperback: 9781739177775
Price £8.99

Digital: 9781739443115
Price: £5.99


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About this book

Lynn Michell is the author of sixteen acclaimed fiction and nonfiction books including Write From the Start (Longman), a writing scheme for schools, Shattered (HarperCollins) based on interviews with thirty people seriously ill with ME, Growing Up in Smoke (Pluto Press) a first account of children as passive smokers, three novels and the official biography of the artist, Rosa Branson (Linen Press). Her debut novel, White Lies (Linen Press), was runner-up for the Robert Louis Stevenson award. Lynn lives in the Western Isles where she runs Linen Press and looks after brown and black sheep.

Additional information

Book Type

E-Book, Paperback


‘A meditation on loss, longing and belonging.’
– Derek Thompson, author of the Thomas Bladen thrillers, Long Shadows, West Country Murder.

‘A brilliantly written, magical story about shore and sea and those who belong there.’
– Avril Joy, Costa and People’s Prize winning author of Sometimes A River Song and The Silent Women.

‘The overwhelming energy of the book is hopeful, personified in the reckless, pure soul of the child Fenn. In a book about belonging, and not belonging, and loss, she is the story’s beautiful defiant beating heart.’
– Anna Caig
Read the full review here

‘The water all around us is an emotionally moving novel that fills the mind with secrets, stories, and strange songs like a fable or fairy tale. Each of the central characters is rendered beautifully – authentic, empathic, lonely, self-contained and vulnerable. They are skillfully written, and are effortlessly true to themselves and the remarkable landscapes and seascapes they inhabit. The pace of the novel is wonderfully controlled allowing each secret, story and strange song to be revealed in its own vivid colours.’
– Jess Richards, author of Snake Ropes, Cooking with Bones, City of Circles and Birds and Ghosts.

‘Just as the sea rolls and holds its many dreams and secrets, so the story-telling anchors this book in our hearts.’
– Nick Dawson, author of North, Tracks of a Panda, Tigress

‘Once again, Lynn Michell gives us an entrancing narrative of the redemptive quality of human relationships, against a backdrop of the natural world and the urgent environmental challenges it faces.’
– Jenny Gorrod, Dundee Review of the Arts
Read the full review here:

‘The water all around us is sad, beautiful, sensitive, intriguing, interesting and educational. I learned about islanders, crofters, sea life and whales. 
The writing is heartbreakingly sensitive, compassionate, and brilliant especially the descriptions of the sea, bird calls, the music of the wind. It’s unusual, unique and very special.
The drama in the opening pages makes you read on right through to the turbulent and exciting climax.
Narrating the story through a child’s point of view is endearing. Finn’s feelings as a newcomer to the island and not settling are very realistic. Any child who is uprooted will understand. It is brave and challenging to enter the whale’s mind and imagine his feelings but the writing appears effortless.
There is a message about the importance of relationships, not only between humans but with animals and the environment. This book tells us of our responsibility to protect our planet for future generations. It will broaden your perspective and give you a deeper understanding of the impact of climate change on our oceans.
A powerful, thought-provoking read that will stay with me for a long time.’
– Hema Macherla, author of Breeze From the River Manjeera, Blue Eyes and Letters In the Sand.