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The Islanders por Christopher Priest
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The Islanders (original 2011; edição 2014)

por Christopher Priest (Autor)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3791652,644 (3.94)31
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. It shows Christopher Priest at the height of his powers and illustrates why he has remained one of the country's most prized novelists.… (mais)
Membro:dcreinwald
Título:The Islanders
Autores:Christopher Priest (Autor)
Informação:Titan Books (2014), 352 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

Pormenores da obra

The Islanders por Christopher Priest (2011)

  1. 20
    City of Saints and Madmen por Jeff VanderMeer (anglemark)
    anglemark: There are similarities in style and theme.
  2. 10
    Cloud Atlas por David Mitchell (tetrachromat)
    tetrachromat: Similar in structure and in themes.
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I have no idea what to say about this book. I have no idea what it is all about. But I suppose I should make some sort of an effort. The Islanders is not really a story, it is a travel guide. A guidebook to the Dream Archipelego, and of course I haven’t yet read the book of that name, so perhaps it would help with this one if I did. However at least parts of The Affirmation were set there, so I did have some little background. Most of the chapters describe an island, giving a bit of history, or information on the island’s culture & society. And every now and then there is a chapter which tells a bit of a story. They are all tied together around the possible murder of a famous mime artist, and a love story.

Or at least I think they are.

I have read other books by Priest and often I have been left with the impression that I didn’t quite get all that was going on, but never have I finished one and thought that I had no idea what any of it was about and why it was written in the first place.

But, and here is the thing, I still finished it. So I guess on some level it worked. I was interested enough in the early hints that I continued through to the end. I’m not entirely sure if it was worth the effort however. There are some great ideas. And I like the style of writing. But I prefer a story and characters to a travel guide with hints at a story and characters ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
Christopher Priest is one hell of a writer.

What first appears to be a rather dry travelogue of islands, fauna, and different societies, traditions, and mirroring interconnectedness in physical location is, in fact, a novel of tricky space-time confusions, and many-layered lies told both among the inhabitants of the islands and also of lies between the two big continents that are waging an endless (and staged) war, supposedly leaving the Islands like a fascinating Switzerland between them.

But wait! That's just the big stuff. The mirroring goes deeper when we discover and revisit the murder of a mime across so many stories within this novel, going from mismanaged justice to deeper mysteries of interconnectedness, always coming back to the stories of death and taking care of the estate of the relative who has died, with great reveals hidden like stunning jewels throughout.

We get connections to the other Priest novels, including the letters of the main character of The Affirmation. It's quite complicated but not at all a chore to read. In fact, Priest has a glorious way with characterizations, always returning to fascinating sexual encounters, death, loss, and searching. He's also devoted to writers, musicians, mimes, sculptors, and painters.

The picture we get for all of the islands is probably the most complex and odd I've ever read... as in almost entirely recognizable, but deeply suspicious and ever-increasingly and fundamentally strange.

The biggest bit like that is the one where flying around a single island gives you a different island depending on which direction you go around it. Or that from the surface you can see staggered and nearly immobile airplanes locked in time.

This is definitely science fiction. We get everything from native viewpoints to high-tech drones and warfare with enormous research facilities. Moreover, though, it's a novel of unreliable narration and narrators, an unravelling puzzle of life and especially this location that seems to be an island locked within a vortex of time. I say "seems". There is no spelling this out. And yet I don't care. It's thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Whoever wrote the publishers description went a little overboard - it's not the fast-paced, intricate murder mystery I expected. I liked it a lot anyway though. It's got a deliberate style that reminded me a little of Ursula LeGuin and the characters had a kind of northern european/skandinavian feel to me. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |



Christopher Priest is a world builder along the lines of Frank Herbert and his Dune series, only with Priest his world is an Earth-like planet composed of many hundreds of islands rather than our seven continents. Included in the author's series are, to date, The Affirmation, The Dream Archipelago, The Gradual and this 2011 novel under review, The Islanders, a breathtaking tour de force of invention and imagination.

The majority of chapters are written in the form of a tourist guidebook for a specific island, complete with references to topography, climate, flora, fauna and prevailing culture - traits and interests of the population,, museums, theaters, concert halls, beaches, hiking trails, cuisine, legal restrictions, and currency in use. The longer chapters interspersed throughout are intense personal accounts of various unfolding dramas. To share a glimpse of what a reader will encounter, below are a number of the more memorable highlights of my journey across the British author's remarkable creation:

TUNNELING
On a number of islands, Annadac for one, thrill seekers have embraced the dangerous sport of tunneling - they wear inflatable jackets or ride rafts to be propelled by hair-raising torrents of rushing water via a tunnel bored through a mountain created by engineers or installation artists such as the renounced Jordenn Yo. Sound like fun? Be aware there’s the inevitable yearly death toll. Thus participants are required to put down a cash deposit to cover possible funeral expenses. Also dangerous for the creator - on several islands where tunneling has subsequently been strictly prohibited, Jordenn Yo has served jail time.

ULTIMATE KILLER
As part of a historical account from the journal of entomologist Jaem Aubrac we come to know of a deadly insect once having thrived on one of the islands - the thryme (Buthacus thrymeii). Shaped along the lines of a scorpion with its two large, muscular pincers next to its head and a poisonous stinging tail curved over its body, the thryme is much larger, the size of a small cat. Aubrac’s team conducted experiments to observe the thryme in action - against, in turn, a hawk, pit viper, rat and giant scorpion. None of the foes lasted more than forty-eight seconds. What makes the thryme particularly lethal is how it can dart across the ground at extraordinary speeds. The scientists had to abandon the island wearing special protective suits. But even such safety precautions were not enough as the thryme’s strong pincers pierced layers of protective material and members of the team died instantly. The guidebook reports how thrymes were eradicated many years ago and tourism has since flourished. Mysterious deaths are still reported on this island named after the famous entomologist, however all drawing or photos or even the mere mention of thrymes are prohibited by law. Sound ominous? Would you nonetheless be lured by Aubrac's splendiferous beaches, exquisite golf courses or exotic cuisine? Not me!

ETERNAL LIFE
The island of Collago is the famous destination for those lucky lottery winners who will be given the medical operation making them physically immortal. Fans of the author will recognize Peter Sinclair from The Affirmation was one such lottery winner. Of course, such a procedure opens up numerous philosophical questions and quagmires. For myself, if offered a treatment providing me with unending years of good health, I’d gladly take it! Among other advantages, I would stand a better chance of reaching the bottom of my to-be-read stack.

SILENT THREAT
One major drama revolves around the life and death of mime artist Commis. At the main theater on the island of Goorn, an apprentice stage hand tells the story of how Commis would room at the theater, hardly ever leaving – the mime would remain in character round the clock. At one point backstage in the manager’s office, Commis mimes eating a banana, then blithely tosses the peel on the floor. When the narrator gets up to leave, Commis recoils in terror, pointing at the peel. The narrator, no fan of mime, can’t help himself, he steps over the peel so as not to slip. For readers familiar with Christopher Priest’s The Prestige and its major theme of doubles and identical twins, the ultimate identity of Commis will have a familiar ring.

NAUGHTY PAINTING
One of the greatest of all island artists, Dryd Bathurst, painted epic landscapes - stunning and awe-inspiring. The guidebook relates the story of his heroic oil, The Wood-Combers’ Return, on display in the palace of a royal family. One evening an art critic scrutinized the canvas with a magnifying glass. The critic wondered at the likeness of two ravished nymphs in the lower left corner of the painting to the wife and daughter of the eminent Seignior. The Seignior himself took a look through the glass. Later that evening, Dryd Barthurst pulled back the sheets in the guest room where he was staying and found a huge thryme, not long dead, serum oozing from its savage mandibles. The artist was never seen again on the island.

LOTUS-EATERS
Mesterline is the island famous for its tolerant, informal, hang easy, dangle loose attitude and approach to life. When the rain showers down in mid-afternoon, the Mesters will interrupt any business or commercial activity to go outside in the streets and public squares to raise their heads and arms, allowing the rains to wash over their hair, skin and cloths. You see, there is something in the water, some combination of minerals and chemicals that bestows a sense of euphoria, an overwhelming joy and feeling of universal harmony to all who drink from its springs. Needless to say, water is imbibed with every meal. An entire island of sixties hippies. The guidebook notes there was that time a large industrial company arrived on the island with its trucks and pipes to set up a plant. Soon thereafter, the Mesters realized all their water was being taken off the island. The natives quickly took action. Nowadays tourists can visit the ruins of what was once a factory and then go back to town to get high with the Mesters on Mesterline water.

CREEPY TOWERS
A first-person account of an engineer accompanying his lover, a graphic and computer technician, to the island of Seevl with its ancient dark towers emitting suffocating, noxious psychic vibrations. Fortunately, the two are given an apartment constructed with a special, protective glass warding off the tower’s invisible rays. But not so fortunately, both are obliged to spend a portion of their day outside engaged in research. This sixty page tale of terror is one of the most frightening stories I've ever encountered.

FAN MAIL
Many are the poets, novelists, essayists, journalists on the islands. Their tales are among the most intriguing in Priest’s novel. One standout is about Moylita Kaine, a young, aspiring novelist living on the island of Mill. She writes a series of lengthy fan letters to her hero and idol, the great author Chaster Kammerson. One of her letters includes her first published novel, The Affirmation. Christopher, you trickster! And let me note here how the islands also play tricks – their formation appears one way when traveling north to south and another when traveling east to west. To my mind, our British author leaves little doubt how imagination trumps fact.

PASSIONATE LOVEMAKING AS PERFORMANCE ART
The island of Yannet is the site for the meeting of two installation artists, a woman called Yo (constructor of tunnels, as per above) and a man called Oy, creator of art along different lines – he fills things in. Their meeting is not only a meeting of minds but a meeting of sweaty, lusting bodies. This chapter is a real treat for anybody interested in the intersection of art and life, of art and art theory.

I could easily list another ten, no, make that twenty. The Islanders is that compelling. Reading through other reviews of the novel, one thing pops out - once read, never forgotten. I urge you to pay a visit and encounter an author's imagination on fire.



In an effort to figure out what's going in The Islanders, Adrian Hon created the above diagram. Although Adrian acknowledges his attempt to unknot the story in this way isn't necessarily the best approach, he tells us he had fun trying.




“None of it is real, though, because reality lies in a different, more evanescent realm. These are only the names of some of the places in the archipelago of dreams. The true reality is the one you perceive around you, or that which you are fortunate enough to imagine for yourself.”
― Christopher Priest, The Islanders ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
Wow. what to make of it. Such an unusual premise, but so well executed. A couple of chapters did not quite grab me, but given the scale of the ambition of this format it is petty to criticize, and generally each chapter captured your attention in its own right...................................and to sew the whole together, well very impressive. Typical Priest if only because it is so untypical. Impossible to fit in any one genre. ( )
  malcrf | Jun 27, 2017 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Christopher Priestautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
McFerrin, GradyDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Yoshimi-dori, FurusawaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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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. It shows Christopher Priest at the height of his powers and illustrates why he has remained one of the country's most prized novelists.

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