Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Top 10 island books

Romesh Gunesekera's books include Reef, which was short-listed in 1994 for both the Booker and the Guardian Fiction Prizes.

For the Guardian, he compiled a list of his "top 10 island books." One title on the list:
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

This book signals the birth of the novel in English, taking the reader from the known familiar world into a voyage of fiction. In the Preface, we are told that this is a found book: "no attempt has been made to polish the strong unstudied diction of the author, or to improve on his homely vigorous language." We are invited to believe this is the true account of a mariner from York, who becomes a castaway on a tropical island, and we do. Fiction works. Crusoe's life on the island tells us not only about survival and violence, but also society, religion and Europe's relationship with the rest of the world.
Read about what may be the funniest book on Gunesekera's list.

The Page 99 Test: Robinson Crusoe.

--Marshal Zeringue