Rosie Andrews

The Colony by Audrey Magee & The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews

June 2022, no. 443

Two new novels probe national myths and histories, offering insights into the political and religious forces that continue to shape contemporary conflicts. Set during the height of the Troubles, Irish writer Audrey Magee’s The Colony begins with English artist Mr Lloyd travelling to a remote island off Ireland’s west coast, ‘a rock cutting into the ocean, splitting, splintering, shredding the water’. Lloyd insists on being ferried across by currach rather than by the motorboat the islanders themselves use when crossing to the mainland, a requirement that immediately foregrounds how much of Lloyd’s conception of the island is bound up in romanticised notions of the bleak Irish landscape and the hardy individuals – twelve families in all – who inhabit it.

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