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" If the world is a tree,

we are the blossoms "

Novalis

Lost Islands

April 25th, 2008

Books come into the office for review and I usually send them on to our monthly magazine editor, Penny Billington, but this week one has come in and I can’t let go of it… it’s called Lost Islands – Inventing Avalon, Destroying Eden by Kevan Manwaring.

I haven’t finished it, so it’s too early for a review, but I want to give it a plug. Kevan has written two novels inspired by the Long Man of Wilmington (see picture at the top here) The Long Woman and Windsmith, and they’re excellent. I went to the launch of his last book in the virtual world of Second Life.

Here’s the publisher’s description of Lost Islands:

Otherworldly islands haunt the imagination of the West. From Atlantis to Ys, the peoples of the Atlantic seaboard have dreamt of, searched for, journeyed to and lost several distinctive kingdoms of the sea – all ‘into the West’, where the sun sets and where the soul is said to go at death. Are they a collective dreaming of a real place, or mere salty yarns spun by ancient mariners?

In Lost Islands: Inventing Avalon, Destroying Eden Kevan Manwaring takes you on an adventurous odyssey charting this metaphysical archipelago, drawing upon philosophy, folklore, literature and myth. This voyage encompasses many imaginary Eden-like utopias. Can we ever hope to attain such paradises or are they ultimately within ourselves – states of consciousness and enlightenment to aspire to and fall from? And why do such island Edens seemingly inevitably end in disasters – whether inundated by mythic floods, as with Atlantis, or with all-too-real ecological disasters, as with Easter Island?

In an era of climate change and global uncertainty the myths of inundations are more poignant today than ever. How permanent is our own ‘island state’ of living on Earth?