An Island by  Karen Jennings

An Island

Karen Jennings

Mercifully short, this is the gripping, dark but beautifully written tale of Samuel, an elderly man who is living out his life on an unnamed African island, battling nature, and battling his past. The post-colonial country setting arouses elements of political commentary, especially around refugees and xenophobia. In our own post-lockdown world, the paranoia that comes with extended isolation is interesting to consider.


Samuel went to the top of the stairwell, looked back over his shoulder, and saw the man refracted a hundred times over. Behind the man was the sea, and him upon it, hundreds of him, floating on the water, searching for a place to land. Now in his descent, the man pursuing him, Samuel moved as swiftly as he could towards the certainty of the cottage. If only the stairs, rolling on and on, breaking against his shuffling feet, would pause for a moment. Only a moment, so that his head could stop reeling, the gathering saliva settle. In that pause he would cross the intervening space without strain.

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