Island Dreams

October 2020, Canongate Books

shortlisted: Waterstones Book of the Year

With Island Dreams, Gavin Francis journeys into our collective fascination with islands. He blends stories of his own travels with great voyages from literature and philosophical exploration, and he examines the place of islands and isolation in our collective consciousness.

Island Dreams compares a life of freedom of thirty years of extraordinary travel - from the Faroe Islands to the Aegean, from Antarctica to the Andaman Islands - with a life of responsibility as a doctor, community member and parent approaching middle age.

Maps show us the ways islands have been understood and imagined over the centuries, and demonstrate how island communities connect to broader currents in science, seafaring and society.   It’s often said that it’s easier to feel socially isolated in the city than it is in a small island community, and Island Dreams riffs on the twinned poles of rest and motion, independence and attachment, never more relevant that in today’s perennially connected world.

Beautifully illustrated with maps throughout, this is a celebration of human adventures in the world and within our minds.