The Island at the End of the World Paperback
by Sam Taylor
Through the eyes of eight-year-old Finn we find ourselves on a small island, surrounded by nothing but sea.
Finn lives here with his Pa, his elder sister Alice and his younger sister Daisy, and has no memory of any world but this one.
All he knows of the past comes from the songs and stories of his father, which tell of the great flood that drowned all the other inhabitants of the earth, a deluge their family survived thanks to the ark in which they now live.
Alice, however, has entered adolescence, and treasures vague memories of her dead mother and of life before the flood.
As her relationship with her father changes, she begins to see holes in his account of the past, and desperately seeks contact with the outside world. And when a boy, a stranger, is washed up on the shore, apparently in answer to the message she sent in a bottle, it appears they may not be alone after all.
Set in the near future, told from three different viewpoints and written in extraordinary prose, "The Island at the End of the World" is an original, moving exploration of family love, truth and lies, and how strange and frightening it can feel for a child to discover the adult world.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 224 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 04/02/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780571240524
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Review by passion4reading
Told in first-person narrative, we learn that the father, his two children and the family dog have taken shelter on a remote island after what appears to be an apocalyptic event.I found this book compelling and a real page-turner, and could not rest until I had reached the final page. Some reviewers have commented on how they found the son's narration with its deliberate spelling mistakes offputting. Yes, some of the spellings are unconventional, but I am myself the mother of a 7-year-old displaying very imaginative spelling and as such recognise that they're clearly adding a distinctive voice. The same goes for the teenage daughter, sounding very stilted at first until you realise that her only literary influences in her life have been Grimm's Fairy Tales, the bible and the collected works of Shakespeare. First-person narratives can be double-edged swords, but here the author makes masterful use of it, so that the final twist comes as a complete shock. Recommended.