It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Island House by Mary Considine. ‘An unforgettable new memoir that will transport readers to the wilds of Cornwall and a remote island life.’
About the Author
Growing up in the flat landscape of Bedfordshire, Mary fell in love with Cornwall and the sea on her first visit as a small child. Distracted by the garlands of London, she spent the 90s writing and directing plays in the London and Edinburgh Fringe, and scriptwriting.
Work included Angels, Time Out Critics Choice, The Other Half, commissioned by The Carlton Tv screenwriting initiative; and a short film The Hand Job, shortlisted for the Lloyds Bank/Channel 4 short film competition.
The noughties were spent teaching drama in secondary schools in the hills of North Yorkshire and, in pursuit of her now husband, back in London, before realising her impossible dream of moving to St George ‘s Island in 2010.
About the book
Mary and Patrick’s dream was to live in London, have 2.4 children, the nice house, the successful jobs. But life had other plans, and one traumatic year that all came crashing down.
bruised and battered, Mary finds herself pulled towards Cornwall and dreams of St George’s Island, where she spent halcyon childhood summers. So, when an opportunity arises to become tenants of they renovate the old Island House, they grab it with both hands.
life in the island is hard, especially in winter, the sea and weather, unforgiving. But the rugged natural beauty, the friendly ghosts of previous inhabitants, and the beautiful isolation of island life being hope and purpose, as they discover a resilience they never knew they had.
I think the sentence that resonated most with me was – he knows the island is calling. I think at the core of decisions to sever oneself from the societal norm and rat race, which may or may not go hand-in-hand with trauma, stress, burn-out or other great upheavals there can be an element of gut instinct. The instinct that tells us we need to readjust, re-evaluate and seek change.
The isolation seems to adhere to those lines, although in this case it can bring both peace and hardship. Imagine cutting yourself off from the extended world, where you often rely on nothing else but your own strength and stamina. Survival instinct kicks in, but perhaps also a resonance of forgotten ancestral genetic instincts.
I found the story, the memoir, quite fascinating. There must be plenty of people who think of going slightly off-grid and retreating in a way – I know I certainly have. However I am more realistic about being able to cope with the extreme situations, and reverting to more basic comforts. It’s tough, albeit that fact is obscured by the scenery and the fantastical notion one has stepped back in time and staking a claim and place in the unknown. This imaginary fantastical notion of a fantasy life doesn’t do justice to the people who actually do make these choices and live in isolated areas.