Karin Schimke writes about AN ISLAND by Karen Jennings

… In An Island, specificity is jettisoned, as evidenced by the use of “an” and not “the”. The character is an old man called Samuel who tends to a lighthouse, a colonial remnant, off the coast of an unnamed African country, first clawed at and pawed and squeezed and ravaged by colonial overlords, then sucked dry by the country’s dictatorial “saviour”. Samuel is a nothing, a nobody, uneducated and unheroic, but he has had the one tiny luck of getting a job manning the lighthouse on the island after he is released from decades in a prison for being an enemy of the state (which sounds much grander than his actions were). But even on an island, history and the present catch up: sea creatures, once abundant, dwindle, plastic rubbish dots the landscape…and bodies of refugees wash ashore. There is no escaping the world’s violence, malice, greed and selfishness. And there is no protection from what those do to the self. No man is an island. […]

An Island is bleak and stark, and Jennings writes in plain sentences. I read An Island in what would have been one sitting, had it not been for the interruption of night.

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