A refugee washes up on the beach of an island inhabited only by Samuel, an old lighthouse keeper. Samuel is soon swept up in memories of his country suffering under colonisers, then fight for independence, only to fall under a dictator’s rule. Now he wonders, to what lengths will a person go to ensure what is theirs will not be taken from them?
Hello there, welcome to The Reading Closet on my day of the An Island tour organised by the brilliant Emma of Damp Pebbles tours. Thanks Emma for the invitation and to Holland House for the gifted copy of An Island written by Karen Jennings. The original publication of this homely novel was meant to occur at the beginning of the year but due to events, like many books, it was pushed back to the 12th of November. You can purchase your own copy of this book in hardback, paperback and / or eBook directly from The Hive here.
Samuel is our main character, a survivor of escaped violence that came along with dictatorship on the mainland and a quarter of a century in the prison. With survival comes great hardship for our protagonist, after 25 years caged away, he now lives within a personal prison of his own choice where he doesn’t have to come into contact with people and he lives a life of solitude, an island where he maintains the lighthouse and receives care packages on a regular basis. Immediately you can smell the salt in the air from the water, you can hear the waves crashing around, and you can also feel the loneliness whether Samuel does or not. Accustomed to his own company, and the silence that the island brings, Samuels escapism is destroyed when the body washes up on the shore, a body of a man who is still alive. This breach of boundaries begins to breakdown everything that Samuel has become during his life alone, he lives day to day in his own world, one that has now been infiltrated by a stranger.
Karen has created an atmospheric tale, one that has humanity sewn through its core. The setting of an island backdrop breathes the chill of loneliness through the chapters and the way it feels personal and raw will have the reader understanding, possibly connecting with Samuel on levels we weren’t sure we would. An Island is a truly special read, that you’ll find creeps up on you chapter by chapter. You’ll get lost in the wave of Karen’s words, in Samuel’s loss, life and grief entranced by the violence our protagonist has experienced, as well as the emotional knitting that holds the novels core together.
Have you read An Island yet? What did you think? Make sure to continue to check out the posts on this amazing tour, from bloggers who will share why they loved this this novel! Thanks again Emma for the tour spot!
Until next time,