Home Stories in Print Stories on Audio Classes / Events Representation Contact

The Island


During the summer of 1968, fourteen-year-old Fish Becker is sent to Portland, Oregon, to the home of family friends while—in an attempt to salvage their troubled marriage—his parents travel overseas, employing their usual method for resolving domestic discord:   buying everything they see.

In Oregon, Fish stays with the Lamberts:  Miles, his father’s best friend from school and his mother’s former fiancé; Ariana, Miles’ wife, whose sense of time and reality is sorely displaced; sixteen-year-old Freddy, whose behavior Fish emulates as well as rejects; and Freddy’s younger sister Mira, whose penchant for theosophical musings causes Fish to question the nature of his own existence and parentage.

Surrounded on three sides by cemeteries, the Lambert estate is an overgrown Eden and a  treasure trove of books—the classics of literature as well as incomplete sets of garage-sale encyclopedias—the little-known and the forgotten.  It is also a place where one might just as easily hear an aria from Puccini as participate in a seance; at the Lamberts’ one can hide, an island in the midst of personal as well as historical trouble, and it is here that Fish first manages to confront those issues common to maturity—the loss of innocence regarding one’s parents, the growing importance of one’s sexuality, and an awareness of mortality.

In this retelling of The Tempest, Fish plays Caliban as well as Ferdinand, Madama Butterfly meets Madame Blavatsky, and the layers of time become the story of awakening repeated for each generation.

Amazon.com: The Island       

Reviews of The Island: