John Self reviews An Island by Karen Jennings

This is a book that gives us faith that the Booker prize judges are doing their job, for two reasons. The first is that this is the dark horse of the longlist, released quietly by a micro-publisher, unreviewed in the press until now, so it shows the judges aren’t just guided by big names.

An Island is the third novel by Karen Jennings, a South African novelist living in Brazil. It throws us into the world of Samuel, a lighthouse keeper who has withdrawn from the world and whose main concerns are looking after his chickens and maintaining his toenails. Oh, and occasionally he harvests corpses — refugees, others — who wash up on his shores. Unfortunately for Samuel, the 33rd dead body to arrive in his 23 years on the island turns out, despite his hopes, not to be dead after all.

The Times