The Colony (MP3 CD)

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The Colony By Audrey Magee, Stephen Hogan (Read by) Cover Image
By Audrey Magee, Stephen Hogan (Read by)
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Staff Reviews

It is the summer of 1979, and in Audrey Magee’s lyrical and brooding novel The Colony, two outsiders, one an English artist, the other a French linguist, visit a small, sparsely populated, rocky outcrop of an island off the west coast of Ireland, each in his own way striving to encapsulate the truth of this place—one in his painting, one in his faithful rendition of its speech, all with unforeseen and haunting consequences. The story is reminiscent of Anna Burns’  Milkman (yet totally different!), because "the troubles" in Northern Ireland feature here too, yet they remain a backdrop to a deeper, rural island story that is really about art and language and family and colonialism. This traditional island fishing community becomes a laboratory in which Magee dissects the gulf between what Ireland is and how the rest of the world fantasizes it to be (the sectarian violence claiming victims across Ireland is very effectively and dramatically rendered in short, sobering interludes interspersed with the main narrative.) Apropos of a novel dealing with art and language, Magee paints a vivid portrait of the island and its people (especially enriching is Magee’s portrait of James, a 15-year-old island boy seeking a bigger, better life). The novel’s ideas about language and culture are provocative and profound, but in a quiet way. And there is an elegant simplicity to the terse, direct dialogue; the pace of the novel is unhurried, the language often poetic, often strangely funny, with some inner thoughts relayed as streams of consciousness or ingeniously in bits of verse. Longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize (it would be my favorite to win!), one of my favorite novels of the year, a novel I found near perfect and, honestly, didn’t want to end (trite I know, but true!), Ed loved and highly recommends!

— Ed


It is the summer of 1979. An English painter travels to a small island off the west coast of Ireland. Mr. Lloyd takes the last leg by curragh, though boats with engines are available and he doesn't much like the sea. He wants the authentic experience, to be changed by this place, to let its quiet and light fill him, give him room to create. He doesn't know that a Frenchman follows close behind. Masson has visited the island for many years, studying their language. He is fiercely protective of their isolation; it is essential to exploring his theories of language preservation and identity. But the people who live on this rock--three miles long and half a mile wide--have their own views on what is being recorded, what is being taken, and what ought to be given in return. Over the summer, each of them--from great-grandmother Bean U Fhloinn to widowed Mair ad and fifteen-year-old James, who is determined to avoid the life of a fisherman--will wrestle with their own values and desires. Meanwhile, all over Ireland, violence is erupting. And there is blame enough to go around. An expertly woven portrait of character and place, a stirring investigation into yearning to find one's own way, and an unflinchingly political critique of the long, seething cost of imperialism, The Colony is a novel that transports, that celebrates beauty and connection, and that reckons with the inevitable ruptures of independence.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781666582185
ISBN-10: 1666582182
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Publication Date: July 12th, 2022
Language: English