How does a writer tackle a broad topic like “island” and tell us how significant it is? Chamberlin not only gives us a general overview, he tells us specifics. Not only does he tell us about the concept of an island and what that means, he tells us about islands all over the world. His writing about such a broad subject brings coherent thoughts into black and white, giving us a new perspective about all the different kinds of islands there are in the world.
This non-fiction book is so interesting, the topic so broad, and the meanings derived have so much depth that it makes for a fairly difficult read. This, in spite of the title, isn’t your summer beach book. That is, unless you are headed for an island, say, Jamaica. The first chapter of the book describes the history of the island in general terms, not political.
Islands represent many things; the exploring nature of man, the cultural differences that separate us, and the philosophical importance of discovery. Each island in the entire world offers us something new. The geology of islands is presented in terms readers can understand. The history of continual discovery of new islands and the methods of getting to them is a lesson in the courage of explorers. South Pacific islanders always expected to find another island just ahead.
All over the world islanders fished, not only small fish for food but the largest ones, whales, for nearly everything. There have been many novels written about the experience of living on an island. Artists have isolated themselves and painted their lives away in distinctly different ways.
Chamberlin has such writing skill that a reader can become engrossed in the topic as insight after insight is related smoothly. Earth itself is an island in space, and we still do not know if we are alone on this planetary island. The very nature of a human being seems to be one of seeking answers, the desire to keep looking just over the horizon for whatever else is “out there.”
Island: How Islands Transform the World is a truly an enjoyable read, perhaps not for everyone, but certainly for readers looking for something new.
MaryLu McFall is a resident of Newnan, GA. She works part-time in an independent bookstore and is the author of an eBook, A Little Karmic Murder, a novel about a suicide—or was it murder?
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Bluebridge. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.