'A beautiful story of love and loss, precise, subtle, spiritually alive' Andrew O'Hagan.
'This lovely, haunting novel evokes the rough beauty of St Kilda ... A story of faith and love' The Times.
'Her literary achievement is astonishing ... A superb book' Scotsman.
1830. Neil and Lizzie MacKenzie, a newly married young couple, arrive at the remotest part of the British Isles: St Kilda. He is a minister determined to save the souls of the pagan inhabitants; his pregnant wife speaks no Gaelic and, when her husband is away, has only the waves and the cry of gulls for company.
As both find themselves tested to the limit in this harsh new environment, Lizzie soon discovers that marriage is as treacherous a country as the land that surrounds her.
From the Back Cover
July, 1830. On the ten-hour sailing west from the Hebrides to the islands of St Kilda, everything lies ahead for Lizzie and Neil MacKenzie. Neil is to become the minister to the small community of islanders and Lizzie, his new wife, is pregnant with their first child. Neil's journey is evangelical: a testing and strengthening of his own faith against the old pagan ways of the St Kildans, but it is also a passage to atonement. For Lizzie - bright, beautiful and devoted - this is an adventure, a voyage into the unknown. As the two adjust to life on an exposed archipelago on the edge of civilization, where the natives live in squalor and babies perish mysteriously in their first week, their marriage - and their sanity - is threatened. Is Lizzie a wilful temptress drawing him away from his faith? Is Neil's zealous Christianity unhinging into madness? And who, or what, is haunting the moors and cliff-tops? Exquisitely written and profoundly moving, Island of Wings is more than just an account of a marriage in peril - it is also a richly imagined novel about two people struggling to keep their love, and their family, alive in a place of terrible hardship and tumultuous beauty.
About the Author
Karin Altenberg was born in Sweden and moved to Britain to study in 1996. She holds a PhD in Archaeology. Her first, bestselling novel, Island of Wings, was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book Award and the Scottish Book of the Year Award and was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.