2021 Booker Prize Longlist: An Island by Karen Jennings

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2021 Booker Prize Longlist: An Island by Karen Jennings

Ago 6, 2021, 12:12 pm

This thread is for discussion of An Island by Karen Jennings. No unhidden spoilers, please.

Ago 10, 2021, 1:25 pm

This short little book really packs a lot in. Samuel is the lone caretaker of a lighthouse on a small island. He's been there for many years and his only contact with the outside world is a supply delivery every two weeks. One day his quiet little world is rocked when a half-dead body is washed up on his beach. The novel takes place over four days, but woven in are glimpses of Samuel's past. As he nurses the interloper back to life, we learn about the circumstances that led Samuel to this lonely little island.

One thing that I found really interesting is the look at all the different forms violence can take. Samuel grows up poor in a country led by a violent dictator and so violence becomes a normal part of his upbringing. Even later on when he finally settles on the island, he is still fighting the demons in his head. I read an interview with the author where she talks about growing up in South Africa and how that affects her writing.