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I Am an Island

Narrated by: Tamsin Calidas
Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: Biographies & Memoirs
4.5 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

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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
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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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

  • Overall
    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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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you have to listen to this book. I was captivated

incredible story told by an incredible woman. a tale of amazing courage and resilience

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The poetry of wild loneliness and hardship

I don't think Tamsin is really a writer in the conventional sense of the term. She is a poet and philosopher who happens to write. This book was deeply affecting, achingly beautifully written, stark and vivid. A very painful listen for most of it's duration: It isn't a book which shy's away from the trials of someone who has been traumatised before and is traumatised again. Tamsin is very self referrential in her writing and is more honest for it, though some people may see this as self indulgent, I don't.
I can see why some people didn't like her reading of her book, because she is understated and subdued for the majority of the book, Personally, I felt the quiet insistence of her voice fitted perfectly the trial she endured and her tone changes in the latter parts of the book as the skys of her life clear somewhat.
One of the best Audiobooks I have read (of about 250). I wish Tamsin well for the future.

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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.

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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

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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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A riveting read, beautifully written

Graceful prose, rich and figurative, and an breathtaking story - twisting and turning, always compelling. A raw and painfully honest account that will strike a chord with many at some level. Beautifully structured, each section taking on its own shape and rhythm, enthralling to the end. For me, the lyrical feel of Isabel Allende and Jeanette Winterson. ‘Unputdownable’!

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Confusing

Beautifully written, well read and would make a great novel. Think Wuthers x Lord of Flies, with numerous drunk and angry Scottish blokes leaping up in each chapter. Protagonist is (of course) utterly charming.

By half way through I had SO many questions, why was she living on leaves? Would no one even give her a packet of cereal ? My belief in the abysmal way she was treated for being a female without a traditional Scots skin, was faltering as her introspection just grew and grew, effectively blotting out the magnificence of the journey.

Found myself skipping past significant events (i.e attempted suicide - sorry, spoiler) and just willing her to live, but please just get on the boat, leave the island in peace, go back home. Assuming she did, sadly I found I didn't care enough to find out.

Read first installment of chapter 3 (the self indulgent naked extreme swimming one) , before checking to see how much more there was to plough through. Too much. Gave up.

I really DO hope she's happy now, or if not, pray I don't stumble across another book dissecting feelings. Sometimes what is outside of the box is more interesting than its contents.