Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Year Of Publication: 6th April 2017
Pages: 384 (Paperback)
My rating: 4/5
Barry finds himself quitting his job as an investment banker in New York to pursue his dreams of becoming an artist.Following in the footsteps of his idol Paul Gauguin he heads to Hiva Oa (an island in the Marquesas) with the clothes on his back and some extra pairs of contact lenses.
Accompanying him on a small plane to their destination are Sophie and Etienne – French architects on their honeymoon in Tahiti who decide to take a trip to Hiva Oa to pay tribute to Sophie’s favourite singer Jacques Brel.
Little do they know what’s in store for them.
Defying all odds their plane crashes in the middle of the South Pacific.
Only two passengers survive.
Sophie and Barry.
With Barry’s supply of contact lenses depleting and Sophie consumed with grief,how will this unlikely duo survive being marooned on an island forgotten by civilisation?
“And so it came to pass that two utterly disparate lives happened to overlap … bound together on an uninhabited island some 2,359 miles from Hawaii, 4,622 miles from Chile, and 533 miles from the nearest living soul.
Crap, as Barry liked to say.
Putain de merde, as Sophie was known to exclaim.”
After reading the first chapter (where Barry is seen by a group of American art students placing green bananas on a grave) I was hooked!
Even though the end was pretty obvious from the beginning I kept praying I was wrong.
Sophie and Etienne were like miracle workers.Not only did they have mad skills to construct a shelter with the supplies they could salvage from the island and the emergency kit but they could still be creative enough with the meager food supplies on the island to experiment with their dinner! I particularly liked reading about the Polynesians and how they used the island.
“Geography and time had simply conspired against them.They had left the known world behind them and joined the ranks of all those aforementioned castaways in the unknown world beyond”
I’ve read a couple of books about individuals getting stranded on an island but this book has to be the only one which made me question some of the protagonists decisions – near the end I was pretty frustrated with Sophie.
Even though this book is full of the stereotypical “stranded out at sea” clichés it still does a pretty good job tugging at your heartstrings.
Although I would’ve like to read more (since the last chapter was pretty vague about how they made their way back and I would’ve loved a play by play of their journey) I’d still recommend this book if you’re in the mood to read something entertaining and aren’t too picky about the details (because sometimes this book does verge on being too convenient and unrealistic – *one word “Balthazar”).
*I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.