Audrey Magee’s The Colony is a subtle but powerful novel about language, identity, tradition and modernity.
Mr Lloyd travels to an island by boat. 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 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 characters in the household these two men join is forced to question what they value and what they desire. As the visitors head home, there will be a reckoning.
‘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.’ John Self, The Times