ISBN #: 978-0143126676
Page Count: 240
Copyright: November 12, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Books, Poc Edition
(Taken from back cover)
Born on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall, as a child Judith Schalansky could travel only through the pages of an atlas. Now she has created her own, taking us across the oceans of the world to fifty remote islands. Perfect maps jostle with cryptic tales from the islands, full of rare animals and lost explorers, marooned slaves and mutinous sailors, lonely scientists and forgotten castaways.
The Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands is a small book with a whole lot of information. Mainly comprised of islands I’ve never even heard of, Ms. Schalansky has gathered information from all over to offer a glimpse into the locale and lifestyle of each island represented around the globe, from Lonely Island to Semisopochnoi. Included are detailed maps of the islands, along with longitude and latitude, and when it was discovered as well as if it is currently inhabited. I never knew there were so many uninhabited islands.
The stories she has gathered are local lore, as well as known facts. Several of the stories are dark and dangerous, with Ms. Schalansky describing it this way: "Paradise is an island. So is hell." From the criminal colony on Norfolk Island, to the penguin infested Macquarie Island, the sexual abuse scandal on Pitcairn Island to the detonation of a french hydrogen bomb on Fangataufa where no one was allowed to step foot for six years, this atlas goes a step beyond the norm. Though many of us will never likely travel to these locations, it was enjoyable to read about different lifestyles and climates. It really was a bit like taking a trip, albeit in my own comfy bed.