Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fiction: The Island of Last Truth by Flavia Company

Publisher: Europa Editions
Translator: Laura McGloughlin
Date: 2011 (trans. October 2012)
Format: ARC
Source: World Literature Today giveaway shelf
Read: for my own enjoyment
Pages: 124
Reading time: two days

From GoodReads: Legend has is that Dr. Matthew Prendel, an expert sailor, had been shipwrecked years before the story opens in contemporary New York. His boat was attacked by pirates. He survived thanks to an incredible stroke of luck, while his entire crew perished. But then found himself embroiled in a ferocious fight for survival between two castaways on a desert island. There, too, he was lucky and came out the victor. Or perhaps luck played no part in it. Perhaps something darker was at play. And at stake. The only thing sure is that Matthew Prendel disappeared for five whole years. He has been back in New York now for a couple of years. That’s what they say at least. Though one should never rely entirely on hearsay…

My review: Most of this short novel ended up seeming like just a set-up for the ending. The last couple of pages were where the intensity and excitement were. It felt like by the time the situation of Prendel's shipwreck was explained, once the reader was established in his story, there were too few pages left to do much with it. Like many survivalist tales - and what perhaps makes them so fascinating - The Island of Last Truth explores what happens with human nature when people are thrust into such situations. Yet Company's novel has a different development than most. She takes her time setting up the beginning of the situation, only to have it end abruptly. It's like most of the novel was just the first 100 or so pages of a much longer one but suddenly and prematurely skipped forward to a startling conclusion. Though it was an interesting read, the book left me with a very unfinished feeling.

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