Have you ever had to do one of those god awful team building exercises where hypothetically, you’re stranded on a desert island with twelve objects and you need to rank them in order of usefulness?
At the risk of not sounding like a team player – if a boat I was on actually went down, there’s no way known I’d have my head together enough to think to save something useful like rope or army rations. I’d probably end up panicking, and choose to save a bunch of shot-glasses from the cruise gift shop.
Anyway, within classic and contemporary literature there are numerous depictions of island living, and what comes with being detached too long from the outside world.
And yes I know seemingly it all sounds brilliant – being on a lovely beach with your cornrows and some flirty lady-manatees, but it can actually get grim after a while. Just ask, Alexander Selkirk (the person who Robinson Crusoe was based) who spent four years stranded on an uninhibited island because he got into an argument with the ships captain. Yeah there’s a lesson for us all there – only call the captain a dickhead after you’re safely at your destination.
Here are some fictional islands I know about. Also I’m very sorry I haven’t read Gulliver’s Travels so sadly I’m unable to confirm whether Gulliver’s tinder profile name was ‘biggest on the island (;’
The Beach (Alex Garland, 1996)
1996 doesn’t sound like it was that long ago until the main female character has a dolphin tattoo.
The island in this book is a protected national marine park in Thailand, west of Ko Samui and Ko Pha-Ngan, which tourists are forbidden to visit. Specifically, its about a secret beach on this island that backpacker, Richard, and French tourists, Etienne and Francoise, go out searching for after being told about it by a man they knew only as ‘Daffy Duck’.
Spoilers – when they find the beach there’s a small group who live amongst nature and it all gets a little whingey and bitchy.
And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie, 1939)
This is a short read so its worth reading (…or just watching a BBC adaption). What happens is ten strangers with seemingly nothing in common are all invited to a small island off the coast of Devon and one by one they are systematically murdered as a type of justice for crimes they were never punished for.
One crucial flaw I noticed in the murderers otherwise perfect crime is that he killed the butler first. YOU FOOL! Who’s going to cook now you maniac? Save him til last!
Island (Aldous Huxley, 1962)
Journalist, Will Farnaby, wakes up on the mysterious island of Pala after a yacht accident. Pala is a utopia where individual enlightenment is the principle concern of society, and where they feel sorry for the mess of the outside world.
The Palanese people are free from materialism, and appreciating each moment is such a root part of their society that the birds have all been trained to repeatedly say ‘Attention’ and ‘Here and Now’ as a reminder to be present.
The Island of Doctor Moreau (H.G Wells, 1896)
Following a ship-wreck, Edward Prendick becomes stranded on the island of disgraced former surgeon Doctor Moreau.
Doctor Moreau has populated the island with humanized animals he has created through vivisection, and needless to say it wouldn’t be great for your confidence if you weren’t the most the attractive person on this island.