Islands have always exerted a particular attraction on people - their remoteness makes them ideal for projections of human longings, their clearly defined shape is the perfect setting for utopias and a living laboratory of natural sciences. In her "Atlas of Remote Islands", the author and typographer Judith Schalansky takes a look at fifty islands that she has only visited with her finger on a map.
Those who believe that stories from the world’s outer margins only deal with paradisiacal beaches and poetic solitude are mistaken. "Paradise might be an island. So is hell", says the author, and after reading these stories, one cannot help but agree.
Schalansky interweaves historical accounts and scientific reports into wonderfully strange miniatures that deal with deranged explorers, rare animals and bizarre happenings. The work touches on abandoned research stations, cannibalism and self-proclaimed kings, as much as sailors staging mutinies and officials relocated for disciplinary reasons.
The texts are supplemented by cartographic depictions of the islands that appropriate the desolate areas just as unconventionally as the anecdotes do.
All in all, this book is further proof that the most beautiful journeys still take place in the mind, while offering the perfect reading material for idle hours.
Author: Judith Schalansky