Our Bookshelf: Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright
We don’t usually recommend works of fantasy, but we should because it constitutes a substantial portion of our diet. Islandia, an underground epic with a cult following, is the first we recommend.
The story revolves around the fictional subcontinent of Islandia in the Southern Hemisphere at the turn of the 20th century, when Shackleton was still exploring Antartica, when it was conceivable that there might be uncharted land left on Earth.
On his death, Austin Tappan Wright left the world a wholly unsuspected legacy. Among this distinguished legal scholar’s papers were thousands of pages devoted to a staggering feat of literary creation - a detailed history of an imagined country complete with geography, genealogy, representations from its literature, language and culture. In a monumental labor of love Wright’s wife and daughter culled from this material a thousand page novel, as detailed as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Islandia has similarly become a classic touchstone for those concerned with the creation of imaginary worlds.