Time and space alone is a luxury many long for, embodied by the ideal of the blissfully remote island. But isolation can all too easily become exile. Why, for example, did home secretary Priti Patel consider processing refugees on Ascension Island, 6,500km away from the UK? Mind-bending logistics aside, the plan appeared to be a symbolic act of banishment. The abstract island is not a good place to be. But two writers have, individually, written of its virtues.

In I Am An Island, Tamsin Calidas seeks isolation but doesn’t find it. This book is an account of the past 16 years of her life as she tries to find her feet in an unnamed Hebridean island. The relocation was prompted by a home invasion in London, when she awoke to find an intruder in her flat, but turns out not to provide the unpopulated sanctuary she expects. The island community, by her telling, is not terribly kind to this incomer and her husband. But in spite of accidents, a divorce, poverty, a dearth of health ca...

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