Who hasn’t dreamed or retreating to a small island where fish leap out of turquoise waters and coconuts fall from the trees? In these novels explore one of the verdant ones off the coast of Indian, Ceylon, or South Carolina. With one of these books in tow, board a sailboat and explore Paradise on your own.
Michael Ondaatje Ondaatj
This novel set on the former island of Ceylon describes a homecoming by Anil Tissera, a forensic anthropologist who was educated in England and the States. Sent back home by a human rights group to investigate a series of murders, she examines skeletons including that of the mysterious “Sailor.” In the process, she learns much about her country’s history and the importance of family.
Judith Schalansky 910.914 Sch
If you love maps and travel, check out this lovely book. The author grew up in East Germany and because she was denied opportunities to travel, she developed a love for perusing atlases. This unique travelogue takes you to remote islands where the author has never been. Beautifully illustrated, it includes history and stories that bring each exotic place to life.
Lawrence Durrell 956.93 Dur
This memoir describes the author’s search to find a sun-drenched home on an Aegean island. Durrell discovers a very fine one where he visits villages steeped in history whose inhabitants enjoy simple food and sweet wines, but his experience is marred by the conflict between the Greeks and Turks there. A story about Paradise, but one that is nearly destroyed by civil war.
Margaret Atwood At
Rennie, a fashion reporter, recuperating from breast cancer, visits a Caribbean island and finds herself draw into politics when she falls in love with Paul, a leader of the revolution. This novel investigates power--both personal and political. Despite obstacles, Rennie learns to value herself and her abilities.
Mary Ann Shaffer Shaffer
A diverse group of stalwart islanders defy curfew and hold book club meetings after dark on a British island which the Germans occupied during World War II. A thoughtful novel that examines the question of why some people collaborate with the enemy while others do not. This book also demonstrates literature’s ability to inspire us and give solace during harsh times.
Paul Theroux 919 Th
Well-renowned travel writer, Theroux, compares the huge Pacific Ocean to the universe, where each island shines like a distant star. Beginning near New Zealand, the writer explores Australia, the Solomons, Tahiti, Easter Island, and many other islands all the way to Hawaii. He captures many sensual details: smells, tastes, vistas, but most especially he describes the people of all these isles, their history and mythology. Much of the trip is solitary by kayak.
Amitav Ghosh Gh
The lives of a scientist, a businessman and a local guide intersect when they find themselves in the rich delta region of India. Piya has come to study dolphins, Kanai is there to retrieve a package left to him by someone who died twenty years ago, and Fokir, the local guide, steers them upriver. He shares his deep knowledge of the river and its animals. Interspersed with stories of everyday life, this novel explores the area’s history and myths, as well as the lives of dolphins.
Sue Monk Kidd Ki
A Benedictine monastery, an intricately carved chair, an old lady committing random of acts of violence and a love affair all make this an interesting tale about Egret Island off the coast of South Carolina. Offering plenty of atmosphere, canoe trips through beautiful swamps, and glimpses of rich island culture this book, will transport you to a southern island.
E. Annie Proulx Proulx
After a series of family tragedies, a small-town journalist returns to his family’s roots, a watery place on Newfoundland’s coast. Despite the fact that he’s violently afraid of water, Quoyle rebuilds a life with his two young daughters. Darkly comic, this novel depicts a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. Worth reading just to experience the local dialect that is so richly explored.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer To
A historical novel, set on the beautiful island of Java in 1898, this tells the story of Minke, the only Javanese student in a Dutch high school who eventually rejects his family’s wishes by working for the Dutch colonialists. However, a chance meeting with a mixed-race family convinces him of the inherent racism of his bosses. A political love story.