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Comment: Publisher: Picador
Date of Publication: 1997
Binding: Paperback
Edition: 1st aus p/b Ed
Condition: Very Good+
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The Island in the Mind Paperback – 5 Apr 2001

3 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (5 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862074089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862074088
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,065,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Island in the Mind is a sprawling, exhilarating evocation of European rivalry and ambition in the 17th century, the great age of geographical and intellectual discovery. Hall's novel charts the allure of one of the last blank spaces on the globe, the great undiscovered southern continent. In the opening story, the mythical island becomes the subject of a revolutionary opera named "Terra Incognita", performed against a backdrop of court machinations and sexual intrigue. In the second narrative, a young Venetian woman takes in to her protection a human curio bound for the Turkish Sultan Mehmed's menagerie, a strange savage with a "face so black you couldn't make out the features". It is only in the final story that the island is fleetingly glimpsed by a band of privateers who are blown off course and stumble across the landmass "some 150 degrees east of Greenwich".

Hall's delightful stories combine to imagine the great uncharted regions of the globe with an impressively panoramic grandeur. At the heart of The Island in the Mind is the conviction that the search for the southern continent is both an inner, as well as a geographical, voyage of discovery. The reader, like a spectator at the opera, is drawn to imagine "this Terra Incognita, this unknown and empty land, as a mirror held up for us to see ourselves". Encompassing past, present and future perspectives on Australasia, The Island in the Mind offers a fascinating series of reflections. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"'Everything about Rodney Hall's work is major: the beauty of the writing, the dark and vibrant imagination, and the enormous pleasure it gives the reader.' Michael Herr 'He ranks with Garcia Marquez.' Frankfurter Allemeine Zeitung"

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Format: Paperback
I must agree with the previous reviewer that the book is slow and possibly hard to "get into". However, I am finding it (having not yet finished) a lovely read. I initially bought it because it was compared in a Guardian review to Robertson Davies, who is my favourite author, although I have to say I can't see why, not yet at least.
However, as someone who is fascinated in early modern European history, I am enjoying it immensely. Perhaps not a reason to rush out and buy it for most people! But it is very well written, quiet and thoughtful rather than gripping and shocking - but for me that's a good thing. It's obviously meticulously researched, and I find the characters intriguing and believable.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be painfully slow moving and difficult to get into. I never felt like I was submerged into the time or settings in the book. Although it did have it's moments, particularily in "The Lonely Traveller by Night" portion, I am happy to have finally waded though it so I can set it aside and read something more enjoyable.
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