An ounce of patience might be required for Christopher Priest's latest offering, especially if one hasn't read any of his previous works, which are characterised by their portrayals of alternate realities. His new novel is no different, recalling the mysterious Dream Archipelago, a world of islands that are home to microcosms of intrigue.
The foundation of The Islanders is an unsteady balance of mythical travel guide and character study, strung together in non-linear fashion. The need for a keen mind soon kicks in, as Priest takes his time to establish his various plot threads.
Some of these yarns eventually overlap to form a tapestry of the days in the lives of prominent archipelago inhabitants, while others remain largely unresolved.
Priest does not seem to believe in spoon-feeding his readers every point he intends to score, and in that lies a beguiling complexity of its own, which may or may not be to your taste.
Nevertheless, The Islanders deserves praise for its unusual construction, even if it may require a second reading to fully enjoy.