The Californian writer TC Boyle has long been drawn to utopians and refugees from the mainstream.
In this gripping novel he explores the lives of two seekers from different eras – Will Waters, a veteran of the Civil War, and later, Herbie Lester, a shell-shocked survivor of the trenches.
Both men attempt to start over on the fog enshrouded Channel Islands off the Pacific coast, ignoring the needs of the families they bring with them.
At the heart of the book is the island itself, San Miguel – a desolate outpost of guano-spattered cliffs and stunted wildlife. Pioneer life at its darkest.