The Islanders

The Islanders

by Christopher Priest
     
 

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A stunning literary SF novel from the multiple award winning Christopher Priest. A tale of murder, artistic rivalry and literary trickery; a Chinese puzzle of a novel where nothing is quite what it seems; a narrator whose agenda is artful and subtle; a narrative that pulls you in and plays an elegant game with you. 

The Dream Archipelago is a vast network of

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Overview

A stunning literary SF novel from the multiple award winning Christopher Priest. A tale of murder, artistic rivalry and literary trickery; a Chinese puzzle of a novel where nothing is quite what it seems; a narrator whose agenda is artful and subtle; a narrative that pulls you in and plays an elegant game with you. 

The Dream Archipelago is a vast network of islands. The names of the islands are different depending on who you talk to, their very locations seem to twist and shift. Some islands have been sculpted into vast musical instruments, others are home to lethal creatures, others the playground for high society. Hot winds blow across the archipelago and a war fought between two distant continents is played out across its waters. THE ISLANDERS serves both as an untrustworthy but enticing guide to the islands, an intriguing, multi-layered tale of a murder and the suspect legacy of its appealing but definitely untrustworthy narrator.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
What presents itself as a gazetteer for the Dream Archipelago, a vast array of islands situated between two warring continents to the north and south, becomes, instead, a study of some of the islands' most interesting inhabitants. As the stories of a reclusive novelist, a simple young man accused of murder, a social theorist and author, a celebrated mime, and other significant individuals unfold, another tale—of a very public murder and the arrest and trial of a potential innocent—evolves from the hints doled out to the reader. VERDICT Priest demonstrates once more his ability to surprise and dazzle with this twisty novel in which nothing is ever as straightforward as it appears. The islands themselves serve as a Greek chorus to a tale of ambitions gone wrong, love circumvented, and lives fragmented into a living archipelago, constantly shifting with the winds and tides. Reminiscent of the works of Gilbert Sorrentino, Italo Calvino, and other writers of metafiction, this work of literary prestidigitation by the author of the award-winning The Prestige may appeal to readers of literary fiction as well as fans of speculative fiction.
Publishers Weekly
British novelist Priest (The Prestige) creates a mind-bending, head-scratching book (already much lauded in the U.K.) that pretends to be a gazetteer of the Dream Archipelago, uncountable islands spread around a world whose temporal and spatial anomalies make such a project futile. The dispassionate descriptions of separate islands include odd references out of which it’s possible to begin assembling a cast of characters: maniac artists, social reformers, murderers, scientific researchers, and passionate lovers. Some of these categories overlap, and all the actors are maddeningly fragmented, apt to fade away or flash intensely to life. Interpolated bits of directly personal narratives sometimes clarify and sometimes muddy the story (or stories), while uncanny events struggle to escape the gazetteers’ avowedly objective control and Priest’s elegant, cool prose. The result is wonderfully fascinating, if occasionally frustrating, and entirely unforgettable. (July)
From the Publisher

"Christopher Priest has long been the sort of author critics tend to whip out the serious descriptors for. . . . Judging only on the basis of this mesmeric travel guide to 'an endless sprawl of lovely islands,' (p.382) I would not for a second hesitate to declare Priest a giant of the genre."  —Strange Horizons

"One of the most complex, challenging and satisfying fictions from one of our finest novelists."  —Telegraph

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780575088641
Publisher:
Gollancz, Victor Limited
Publication date:
09/01/2012
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Christopher Priest has long been the sort of author critics tend to whip out the serious descriptors for. . . . Judging only on the basis of this mesmeric travel guide to "an endless sprawl of lovely islands," I would not for a second hesitate to declare Priest a giant of the genre."  —Strange Horizons

"One of the most complex, challenging and satisfying fictions from one of our finest novelists."  —Telegraph

"A dizzying show of a novel. . . . Imagine Possession rewritten by Barbara Vine, or Robertson Davies at his most smoothly diabolical. A brilliantly constructed entertainment!"  —Washington Post on The Prestige

"Extraordinary—like a dazzling magic act!"  —Entertainment Weekly on The Prestige "A somber psychedelic journey through a landscape that seems a collaboration between Breugel the Elder and M.C. Escher, Priest's book is an engine of epiphany, and a formal marvel."  —Jonathan Lethem, author, Motherless Brooklyn, on The Inverted World

"For an artistic endeavor so concerned with the idea of art, it is apt that The Islanders proves in the final summation such an artful work."  —Strange Horizons

"If you've read Priest before you'll recognize some of the motifs, like twins and the theater, artists and what it means to create. If not, buckle up. This book confounded me, confused me, flipped me around and landed me back on the ground only to want to start the whole crazy ride all over again." — Boston Bibliophile

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