Islands – text by John Fowles, photos by Fay Godwin

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I bought this second-hand book (cheaply). Admittedly, I was primarily interested in Fay Godwin’s photographs in the book. Her photographs of the Scilly Islands landscape are monumental. The texts from John Fowles I find difficult to follow.

Islands - Fowles and Godwin

The island atmosphere of Fowles text reminds me of Tim Robinson’s books, especially those on the on the Aran Islands. Tim Robinson’s work put a lot of detail on the landscape, in this book Godwin’s photos provide a similar visual detail to Fowles meandering texts.

Fowles texts follow a historical and mythological sort of baseline. He discusses the characteristics of island communities: solitude and emptiness, independence of any legal power, a unifying feeling that sets people from the islands apart from mainlanders. Islands, withdrawn from common law and ethics, provide a unique magic. Fowles weaves a quite diverting story touching many topics. He mixes Homeros’ Odyssee (was it really written by a man, or must this have been a woman) with Joyce’s Ulysses, Shakespeare’s work, historical deviations, Robinson Crusoe, and other Greek mythology.

Fay Godwin The Shags
Troy Town Maze, St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly, 1977, Fay Godwin

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