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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

When Tamsin Calidas first arrives on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides, it feels like coming home. Disenchanted by London, she and her husband left the city and high-flying careers to move the 500 miles north, despite having absolutely no experience of crofting or of island life. It was idyllic, for a while. But as the months wear on, the children she'd longed for fail to materialise and her marriage breaks down, Tamsin finds herself in ever-increasing isolation.

Injured, ill, without money or friend, she is pared right back, stripped to becoming simply a raw element of the often harsh landscape. But with that immersion in her surroundings comes the possibility of rebirth and renewal. Tamsin begins the slow journey back from the brink.  

Startling, raw and extremely moving, I Am an Island is a story about the incredible ability of the natural world to provide when everything else has fallen away - a stunning audiobook about solitude, friendship, resilience and self-discovery.

©2020 Tamsin Calidas (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Completely astonishing...the fragility of life transcended and restored by the triumphant pull of a determination to survive." (Juliet Nicolson)

What listeners say about I Am an Island

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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I am an island

Thought I would like this book but it was a big disappointment. Frankly she suffers from depression and I think I did by the end of the book. The language is disgusting guess I’m not used to hearing or using such language and I find it offensive. Overall can’t help but think why didn’t she just leave I for one could not live where I wasn’t wanted and in no way did that help her loneliness and mood.

3 people found this helpful

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Didnt really get it!

Didnt really take to the character/author and found it a bit over descriptive and too many analagies. A bit self indulgent. When I listened to the acknowlegements a got a difference sense of the author than I had got in the while book which I felt was a bit woe is me

3 people found this helpful

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Endlessly depressing

Can’t even bring myself to finish this book which is so unusual for me. Perhaps things improved for Tamsin but I can’t spare any more of my life listening to her self indulgent ramblings. The locals were definitely unfriendly but did she really think the people on the island were waiting for her to arrive to complete their lives.

2 people found this helpful

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Emotional

I went through a range of emotions listening to this wonderful story, from hopeful; angry; upset; sad; happy and thankful.

I felt that Tamsin was a brave and kind young women who encountered some behaviour from people you would not expect to behave as they did.
She found her own way showing compassion and kindness both to her neighbours and the creatures on the Island
I have just finished listening to this book and I'm already looking forward to hearing it again

2 people found this helpful

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Self indulgent

I really tried to like this but the author is just so self indulgent and unable to see her behaviour from other viewpoints that I couldn’t finish it.

1 person found this helpful

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A dreadful, dreary book.

The writing style is laboriously and self-consciously over-poetic, full of pseudo wisdom and patronising platitudes about the nature of love and loss. There isn’t a word of self-criticism. The author portrays herself as otherworldly, spiritual and always deeply wronged, while almost every islander we meet is brutish and abusive. I can’t help thinking that there could be another version of this story to be told. The author is careful to hide behind her defence that the island and its community aren’t named, but anyone with a cheap road atlas could easily identify it within the first few chapters. With a half decent OS map it’s possible to locate her croft and those of her neighbours. This proclaimed anonymity is disingenuous and makes me wonder whether the whole book is just an exercise in revenge.

1 person found this helpful

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A sad tale of bullying, depression, and nature

An incredibly sad tale of a bullying community within a the breathtaking beauty of the natural world, told in a poetic, ethereal andromantic style.
I listened in horror of the bullying of the islanders in this unnamed community. Why does she stay I asked my self so many times? I really did not get the sense of love that Calidas speaks of, only hatred jealously and distrussed. Was it really so bad, was everyone on this island like this?? It seems so hard to believe. Crystal her only friend seemed absent much of the time. I suggest the deep depression that engulfs her, fuelled her feelings. The brutality of some creating a sense that everyone was against her. Those people will know who they are and what they did. I hope they read this and learn and feel some of her pain. However, I fear that this story may turn others against her who feel they did not get a fair hearing because there are no voices of support.
Calidas says things are changing, people are becoming more open. I truly hope this is the case. Despite its beauty, this doesn't feel like a place I would want to visit. I learned from the story, it made me think but I cannot say I enjoyed it.

1 person found this helpful

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Less is more

Interesting story. Towny southerner protagonist. Git of a husband. Horrible locals. Way way too many adjectives...

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Interesting story, nicely written

I thought I was going to really enjoy this book as I’m familiar with the terrain. However sadly I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I thought I would. I found Tamsin’s voice a little lacking in feeling and at times almost monotone. Sorry Tamsin I know it’s your story, I just didn’t enjoy the way it was read.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Thank You. Thank You.

Loved It. Loved It. Deep and Honest. A wonderfull reminder of our Human resiliance .

1 person found this helpful