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Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will [Hardcover]

Judith Schalansky
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
RRP: £28.00
Price: £19.04 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Oct 2010

Judith Schalansky was born in 1980 on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. The Soviets wouldn't let anyone travel so everything she learnt about the world came from her parents' battered old atlas. An acclaimed novelist and award-winning graphic designer, she has spent years creating this, her own imaginative atlas of the world's loneliest places. These islands are so difficult to reach that until the late 1990s more people had set foot on the moon than on Peter I Island in the Antarctic.

On one page are perfect maps, on the other unfold bizarre stories from the history of the islands themselves. Rare animals and strange people abound: from marooned slaves to lonely scientists, lost explorers to confused lighthouse keepers, mutinous sailors to forgotten castaways; a collection of Robinson Crusoes of all kinds. Recently awarded the prize of Germany's most beautiful book, the Atlas of Remote Islands is an intricately designed masterpiece that will delight maplovers everywhere. Judith Schalansky lures us across all the oceans of the world to fifty remote islands - from St Kilda to Easter Island and from Tristan da Cunha to Disappointment Island - and proves that some of the most memorable journeys can be taken by armchair travellers.

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Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will + Tiny Islands: 60 Remarkable Little Worlds Around Britain + Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will
Price For All Three: £40.12

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Particular Books; First Printing edition (7 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846143489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846143489
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 1.5 x 25.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Tenderly tracing one finger over the maps, we lose ourselves in the beauty of filigree lines, points and letters. We smell the sea, hear the surf breaking, see icebergs and rocks and under our feet feel fine sand. Anyone who opens this, the most enchanting book of the autumn, is likely to get as lost as Robinson Crusoe for a while (Die Zeit)

An utterly exquisite object ... her book makes a magnificent case for the atlas to be recognised as literature, worthy of its original name - theatrum orbis terrarum, "the theatre of the world" (Robert Macfarlane Guardian)

About the Author

Judith Schalansky is a writer and designer, and lectures on typography in Potsdam. She has written a novel and a typographic compendium, Fraktur mon Amour (2006) which has won several design prizes. She lives in Berlin.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an utterly wonderful book 21 Oct 2010
By Wil Andersen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I picked up just because I liked the look of it - beautifully and lovingly designed and produced. And I was entranced and bought a copy immediately - which my wife immediately purloined so I may need to buy another.

The author was new to me but the story behind the book is moving - born in East Germany and only able to conjure up a picture of the world outside from her parent's old atlas. And these are the islands that she read about - the islands and their denizens. Fascinating to read, just to dip into, or leaf through and let your own imagination wander. I actually don't want to spoil the surprise for readers so will say only that it would be a great present for both the experienced traveller and those who never leave the comfort of their armchair (and those who simply like beautiful books).

I do very strongly recommend it.

PS If you are in doubt - read the entry on St Kilda!!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wanderlust 20 Feb 2011
If it hadn't been for its place on the top of a stand in the bookshop, I would have missed it completely. It isn't an imposing book - the front cover is a self-effacing shade of blue, only a tone brighter than grey - so it was the title which caught my eye. The word Remote was picked out in italics and the simple sight of that conjured an image of windswept boulders and breakers beating on an empty shore. The addition of the word Island beneath was almost unnecessary. The book was already in my hands, the bookshop had receded and a new reality had taken over. I stood in a dream, transported to places where seagulls call like lost children over the corpses of drowned sailors, where lighthouse keepers declare themselves king or the inhabitants attempt to save their sinking land with dykes of stones and brushwood. I travelled to scraps of rock so inhospitable that they have only been visited once or perhaps twice in the whole of human history, places where babies die of unnamed illnesses or are sacrificed in bizarre rituals by people who have forgotten or never knew that there is another world beyond the boundaries of the patch of earth they inhabit.

Just the idea of an island is a deeply romantic notion. Judith Shalansky has taken this idea and transformed it into a book which is not just a collection of true and evocative tales, but is also a lovely object. Two pages are dedicated to each subject. On the right is a beautifully drawn map, reminiscent of the time when cartography was an art as much as a set of directions. Facing this is a page of information. We are given the island's geographical location, its population, the other names by which it is known, the country which has laid claim to it, the distance of the island from the mainland and a timeline of important events.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remote Islands 31 July 2011
By I. Kemp
This book is absolutely and totally ingrossing. You cant put it down. One wonders how all these islands exist so far away from anyone. As the author points out she could never visit any as they are too remote. An excellet bunk side book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The magic of those dots on the map 4 July 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've always been drawn to remote islands, particularly after spending 3 weeks in St Kilda and when I came across a review of this book in the Guardian, I knew I had to get it. It doesn't disappoint. Not only is it lovely to look at but reading it fills you with an immediate longing to visit some of these lonely isles. The author vividly and poignantly recounts a tale/description of each island and knowing that her inspiration for the book comes from having grown up behind the iron curtain with no hope of ever visiting these places only adds to the sense of longing. This is a must for anyone who has ever been fascinated by far flung places.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars most unusual 4 April 2011
By Stephen
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A real one-off, to be browsed in and soaked up. To see whether you would like it, look at Tromelin (page 66). The approach is allusive and wistful rather than didactic. The maps are gorgeous and the production values impressive - proper printing, bound in signatures. The translation is pretty good, I imagine catching quite a lot of the original German: just the odd thing here and there (a volcano is 'extinguished' rather than extinct...).

Something to treat yourself to if you have got an Amazon gift token!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A coffee-table book with a substance. 26 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful inspirational tome that I got as a present from myself... to myself. The format (the book is approximately an A4 size), the thick rich paper, the delicate (yet accurate) maps of islands, the greatly researched pieces of information on every island - all of this makes the book a delightful hardcover. I imagine myself as a traveller. I imagine travelling and reaching out to all 50 islands described in the book. What a journey this will be.

This is truly inspirational to read, like an old school book of maps, or an atlas of some fantastic far-away lands that are not easily reachable (and they are not!), yet all of the islands can be visited. This will make a fantastic present for an experienced traveller, or a budding traveller, or for a dreamer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly delightful book 8 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is beautifully produced and I would recommend that the hardback is worth the extra money. The text is atmospheric and personal, with potted histories of the islands on each page described in a hazily poetic way - quite wonderful. But as if this is not enough the maps are a delight, ranging from that of Howland Island, which is basically a blob in the ocean to the much more (relatively) substantial and populous St Helena.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever
This is the best book ever! Only for those whose imaginations can be stretched and excited. My best friend found it and now I am happy to spread the word. Read more
Published 9 days ago by S. Kemp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
interesting if not a short read
Published 12 days ago by Paul Cullen
5.0 out of 5 stars Visual and intellectual delights
What a wonderful and beautiful book. One to cherish and keep at hand if only to look at the wondrous maps. but the stories are also stunning. Great
Published 2 months ago by Sarah Donlan
5.0 out of 5 stars The writing is beautiful, it's a coffee table book you'll take to ...
Lovely book, fantastically presented and illustrated. The writing is beautiful, it's a coffee table book you'll take to bed with you and tell all your friends about
Published 3 months ago by Ben Goulter
3.0 out of 5 stars Good little stories
The book is a series of little novels attached to each individual island.It Is not a geographical approach at all. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Babis Bizas
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality with facts
Very beautifully presented book - no surprise that it won a prize for the most beautiful book. But it's also full of (admittedly fairly useless! Read more
Published 10 months ago by A. Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Do You Want To Go Today?
This is a book about isolation. The author, originally isolated behind the iron curtain, became fascinated by isolated remote islands and now presents these, along with a story for... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Freelancer Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
The book arrived on time and in excellent condition.
It was a birthday present for my boyfriend-he was over the moon!
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars An escapist's refuge
A beautifully produced book - I'm sure that the writer would have hand-bound each copy if she had had the time, having seemed to have done everything else! Read more
Published 14 months ago by G. Dack
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual and beautiful book
The most beautiful book ever from the hard cover to the beautiful edged pages. Magical stories about about lonley islands that are brought to life by the beautiful drawings. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mr Andrew J Downes
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