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Island of Dreams: A Personal History of a Remarkable Place Paperback – 7 Apr 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (7 April 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1509800778
  • ISBN-13: 978-1509800773
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Evocative. . .A lively, often funny tribute to the place and to the people he meets there. . .Island of Dreams shows him emerging from the shadow of his hero to become a gifted writer himself (Daily Mail)

Enigmatic yet compelling . . . The book returned me to an adolescent passion for Maxwell's Ring of Bright Water (Katharine Norbury Guardian)

I was gripped from start to finish by Dan Boothby's ISLAND OF DREAMS. . . Never overdone, pretentious, self-absorbed or sentimental, it is written with skill and expertise with all the conviction and authority it needs to enthrall. The descriptive passages are traced with deep sensitivity and richly evocative of people, turning seasons, the loneliness of island life, and the enticing contours of the location. This is a fitting and poignant tribute to the enduring value of the Ring of Bright Water Trilogy, written as a personal quest of devotion and discovery. Boothby's disarmingly personal approach draws you into the thrall and mystique of Maxwell's literary landscape by revealing as much about the writer's self as weaving a love-spell to the island and its ghosts (Miriam Darlington, author of OTTER COUNTRY)

Island of Dreams, like its inspiration Raven Seek Thy Brother, becomes an elegy - not for a lost way of life, but for a dream tenaciously pursued and regretfully abandoned (Ariane Bankes Literary Review)

This lovely book offers an elliptical portrait of the enigmatic Gavin Maxwell, and an equally elliptical portrait of its author. A delightful meditation on the impossibility of really knowing anyone, not least ourselves. (Katharine Norbury, author of THE FISH LADDER)

Boothby is entranced by Gavin Maxwell, not because of otters, nor through any overt kinship with the boys who shared the writer's odd life, but because Maxwell seemed always to occupy the debatable lands between the self one knows, the self that is reflected in others and the self that only exists in the act of writing. . .The message - one message - of this remarkable, deceptive book is that not much stays, in any state, and that belonging, like ownership, is only ever partial and never-finished (National)

The writing is as crisp as the coastal air, shot through with the humour of humanity and bright animal magic (Saga)

Book Description

A deeply personal memoir about the search for home.

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