ISLOMANIA is not really about the famous fictional castaway at all - it is more about the place he was forced to make his temporary home, and other places like it. Renowned travel writer Thurston Clarke has long been obsessed with islands, an affliction he calls 'islomania', and his new book is a kind of love letter to these little (and not so little) worlds surrounded by sea.
Beginning with the accepted model for Robinson Crusoe's remote abode, Mas à Tierra in the Pacific, Clarke then takes us on a hugely enjoyable tour of his favourite islands, exploring their geography, history and culture. From George Orwell's Jura, where he wrote '1984', to the beautiful (but slowly sinking) Maldives in the Indian Ocean, this is a book about some of the most curious and evocative places on earth. And over every island falls the shadow of Crusoe, persuading us that islands are more liberating than confining, more contemplative than lonely, more holy than barbaric . . .