- Hardcover: 144 pages
- Publisher: Picador (November 7, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250148448
- ISBN-13: 978-1250148445
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Un-Discovered Islands: An Archipelago of Myths and Mysteries, Phantoms and Fakes Hardcover – November 7, 2017
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Praise for The Un-Discovered Islands
"An armchair traveler’s dream, a fantastical voyage to islands that never were - phantom realms, sunken kingdoms and obscure specks of rock that only ever existed as wild flights of fancy. This compelling narrative reveals mankind’s desire to conjure places into existence and then populate them with monsters, demons and gods." - Giles Milton, author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg and Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
"[A] delightful atlas of islands, some of which no longer exist and many of which never did...Coupled with Scott's (Animalium) colorful illustrations, this book will delight arm-chair travelers and readers of Atlas Obscura." --Publisher's Weekly
"Malachy Tallack (whose name has a wonderful rhythm in itself) has assembled his compendium of imagined outcrops with almost pathological attention to detail...he engagingly uncovers liars, jokers and downright fantasists whose invented lands would embarrass even the most shameless real estate agent. Highly recommended and fascinating." - Mark Ovenden, author of Transit Maps of the World
"Intrepid intellectual fun, and Katie Scott's bold illustrations give an exotic colour to the pages."―Sunday Herald
"It's a joy to island-hop through the book. After wowing the world with Sixty Degrees North last year, Tallack's second book is shaped by the same, clear, sharp prose and keen curiosity. Packed full of intelligent musings on everything from religion to astronomy, alchemy to the occult."―National Geographic Traveler
"One of the best new travel books."―The Guardian
"This is a book to cherish and to dip in and out of when time allows."―Lovereading
Praise for Sixty Degrees North
"Malachy Tallack is the real deal."―John Burnside
"A brave book in its honesty and self-exposure."―Robert MacFarlane
"A joy to read, its prose as clear as the light on the Greenland ice-cap."―The Telegraph
"A subtle, thoughtful study of life on the sixtieth parallel."―Financial Times
About the Author
MALACHY TALLACK is an author and singer-songwriter who has written for many publications. He is contributing editor of the online magazine, The Island Review, and his previous book was Sixty Degrees North. Tallack is from Shetland, Scotland, and he lives in Glasgow.
KATIE SCOTT is the illustrator of Botanicum, and of the best-selling Animalium, which was chosen as the Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Year, 2014. She studied illustration at the University of Brighton and is inspired by the elaborate paintings of Ernst Haeckel.
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In this book, delightfully illustrated by Katie Scott, Malachy Tallack writes about twenty-four islands which were once believed to be real. These islands no longer appear on maps. Some of them were the result of human error, some were the products of imagination, while others were deliberately invented.
Some of the names may be familiar. I’ve heard of Atlantis, Thule, Frisland, The Isles of the Blessed, and Hawaiki. But I don’t remember reading about most of the others. I was intrigued to read about Hufaidh in the Southern Iraq marshes. This is a space which is both real, and mythological. This area, where the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers meet was the ancestral home of the Ma‘dān (the ‘Marsh Arabs’) and was known to European visitors including the explorer Wilfred Thesiger, who visited times during the 1950s, and the writer Gavin Maxwell who travelled there in 1956. It was from these marshes that Gavin Maxwell brought back the otter Mijbil, the subject of his book ‘Ring of Bright Water’. Sadly, most of the marshland has now been destroyed because of action taken by Saddam Hussein at the end of the first Gulf War.
‘Like many such islands, Hufaidh existed in a region bridged between life and death. It was part paradise and part hell, both of this world and of another.’
Atlantis may have been pure invention (thanks, Plato), but in this book Mr Tallack writes of other islands believed to have sunk. Sarah Ann Island in the Pacific (claimed by the USA for its guano deposits) is one such island.
I was amused to read that Bermeja, an island in the Gulf of Mexico, the subject of dispute between the USA and Mexico, was only proven not to exist in 2009. That’s one way to solve territorial disputes.
‘Today the era of new island discoveries is over, and the age of un-discovery is likewise coming to an end.’
I enjoyed reading about these islands, and I especially enjoyed Katie Scott’s marvellous illustrations. While it’s good that improvements in navigation have reduced the uncertainty about which islands exist and where, I liked how uncertainty provided fertile ground for the imagination of mystery.