Monday, 30 October 2017

Faraway by Lucy Irvine

Faraway by Lucy Irvine
First published in the UK by Doubleday in November 2000.

I registered my copy of this book at BookCrossing

How I got this book:
Swapped for on the book exchange shelves at Camping Sopalmo, Spain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eighteen years after her Castaway experience, in 1999, Lucy took her three children to the farthest corner of the Solomons to live for a year on remote Pigeon Island. This time the invitation had come from an intrepid eighty-year-old, Diana Hepworth, who, in 1947, set sail from England and embarked on a hazardous journey to find a faraway paradise where she and her husband Tom could raise a family.

Faraway is the fascinating tale of two extraordinary worlds - 'primitive' and modern 'colonial' - in which tragedy, heroism, danger and pure joy combine in one remarkable story. This is a classic account by a writer who has dug deep into her psyche to illuminate the darkest reaches of our own.

I picked the right time to read this book as it was ridiculously hot in Spain, although perhaps still cooler than the Reef Islands. Lucy Irvine's 'biography' of one, Pigeon Island, is fascinating due to her detailed and honest descriptions of its complete clash of cultures. I have scant sympathy for the Hepworths' troubles, seemingly caused primarily by obsessively forcing their style of English life onto an island people who neither wanted or needed it. The Irvines' own successful integration was an interesting counterpoint and it would be nice to know whether Diana Hepworth actually liked this book, resulting as it did from her original commission.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Lucy Irvine / Reportage / Books from England


  1. I agree with you - I don't particularly care for people enforcing one culture on another and trying to eradicate the history that was previously there. But it sounds like the other side of this is an interesting story of integration and that captures my interest!

    1. Yes, this is very much a two-story book. Both families' experiences are interesting, but one is also truly exasperating!