The Colony by Audrey Magee
He handed the easel to the boatman, reaching down the pier wall towards the sea.
Mr Lloyd has decided to travel to the island by boat without engine – the authentic experience. Unbeknownst to him, Mr Masson will also soon be arriving for the summer. Both will strive to encapsulate the truth of this place – one in his paintings, the other with his faithful rendition of its speech, the language he hopes to preserve.
But the people who live here on this rock – three miles wide and half-a-mile long – have their own views on what is being recorded, what is being taken and what is given in return. Over the summer each of the women and men in the household this French and Englishman join is forced to question what they value and what they desire. At the end of the summer, as the visitors head home, there will be a reckoning.
‘This novel is better than good. Its beautifully realised lament for lost language and cultural sustainability has universal relevance.’ – Canberra Times
‘Intelligent and provocative…The Colony contains multitudes – on families, on men and women, on rural communities – with much of it just visible on the surface, like the flicker of a smile or a shark in the water.’ – The Times