The Aran Islands, in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland, are a unique geological and cultural landscape, and for centuries their stark beauty and their inhabitants' traditional way of life have attracted pilgrims from abroad. After a visit with his wife in 1972, Tim Robinson moved to the islands, where he started making maps and gathering stories, and eventually developed the idea for this cosmic history of Arainn, the largest of the three islands. InPilgrimage, the first of two extraordinary volumes in which he maps the length and breadth of the island, he circles the entire shore of Arainn, a clockwise, sunwise circumambulation in quest for the "good step"a true way of walkingwhich opens up onto everything that can be seen and known about a place. Like Annie Dillard'sPilgrim at Tinker Creekand Bruce Chatwin'sIn Patagonia, Robinson'sStones of Aranis a book about a particular place that takes in worlds. As Robinson walks, drawing on his own personal history with the people and places of the island, he attends to folklore, wildflowers, immigration and emigration, natural history, and the Irish language. On every page is a breathtaking hymn to the cliff men, the shorebirds, the place-names, the scarred limestone of the land or the evocative stone ruins of an ancient fortress. But the book's real subject, as Robinson says, is the "unsummable totality of human perspectives." Robinson's exploration of Arainn continues when he turns inland from the shore inStones of Aran: Labyrinth,which is forthcoming from NYRB Classics.Robinson, Tim is the author of 'The Stones of Aran, Pilgrimage' with ISBN 9781590172773 and ISBN 1590172779.