Reviews

Islanders by Cathy Thomas @viragoBooks @_cathythomas @meetbookgirl #Islanders#cathythomas #bookreview #bookblog #theClqrt #shortstories #recommendedreading

Virago June 2022

Book Description

Annie needs to lose her virginity, so she’s waiting in a car park for Paul.

Paul needs drugs for the party, but he’s got to keep an eye on his sister, Josie.

Josie needs a father figure. Or that’s how it seems to her driving instructor, Neil.

Eva needs to get away from the island. She could do without bumping into the school bully, Kat.

Claire needs to drink herself into the mood for the hen do. But she’s been been betrayed by her childhood friend, Becky. And she can’t stop thinking about what’s happened to her sister, Kat

Set on the island of Guernsey over a period of twenty years, these closely linked stories reveal the desires, friendships, betrayals, regrets and heartaches of twelve intertwined people. Against a backdrop of picturesque cliffs, sandy beaches and fish and chip shops, their stumbling attempts to connect with each other are depicted with pathos, humour and empathy.

My Thoughts

Thanks so much to Elke at Little Brown for reaching out and offering me a finished copy of Islanders by Cathy Thomas. Causing a bit of a stir on social media and the premise of linked short stories, meant this one appealed greatly.

Set on the island of Guernsey, 12 short stories told chronologically detail island life. All the stories are linked and we meet characters again as they appear in the stories of others, we see the progress they are making in their lives, as the blurb indicates, the friendships, the betrayals, the successes and the losses.

I don’t know what to say about his book other than to say I loved it, I read it in a day, I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoy short stories and don’t pick them up as often as I should, but I like how sharp they can be, capturing a moment in time in all its gritty realness. This book did exactly that, on the small island of Guernsey everyone knows each other and it seems hard to leave, those who do often come back. The pleasing location of this island doesn’t serve to protect it’s inhabitants from the harsher aspects of life, problems including drugs and poverty span all communities.

I particularly liked, and was impressed by the way these stories linked, reading as short stories but also as a narrative of the community over the time period. The anticipation of wondering who would crop up in each story and the variety kept me engrossed in this short book.

A top read, one I will treasure and recommend.

About the Author

Cathy Thomas grew up in the South West of England and on Guernsey. She now lives in London. Her short fiction has appeared in publications including the Stinging Fly, Banshee and Litro. She has an MA in playwriting and was selected for the 2014/5 Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Scheme as a dramatist.

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