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Today's quote:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Paradise is an island. So is hell.

 

This book won a prize in Germany as the most beautiful book of the year. It deserves to win several more. “Paradise is an island,” the author Judith Schalansky writes in the book's introduction. “So is hell.”

No doubt some islands far from civilization are idyllic — before the people arrive there. “There is no untouched garden of Eden lying at the edges of this never-ending globe,” she writes. And here is the transcript of an interview with her.

Here is a snippet from this beautifully produced book:

“The absurdity of reality is lost on the large land masses, but here on the islands, it is writ large. An island offers a stage: everything that happens on it is practically forced to turn into a story, into a chamber piece in the middle of nowhere, into the stuff of literature. What is unique about these tales is that fact and fiction can no longer be separated: fact is fictionalized and fiction is turned into fact.” (A sentiment my friend, the redoubtable Rob Bryce, can relate to ☺)

I lived and worked on several islands: New Britain and Bougainville as well as New Guinea itself, Guadalcanal in the Solomons, Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, Upolu in Samoa, Penang in Malaysia, and Magnetic Island off Townsville, and visited many, many others, and I fell in love with this wondrous book which captures fifty islands that are too far away in every sense - from the mainland, from people, from airports, and from holiday brochures - for me to ever visit which makes this book all the more precious.

If you've read this far, your credit card may well have entered danger territory. Why not? Go to Book Depository and splurge $32.64 - or 65 cents per island - on this beautiful hardcover book.