Released on 10 September 2015.

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Island of Dreams

A Personal History of a Remarkable Place

3.78 based on 83 ratings & 19 reviews on


Dan Boothby had been drifting for more than twenty years, without the pontoons of family, friends or a steady occupation. He was looking for but never finding the perfect place to land. Finally, unexpectedly, an opportunity presented itself. After a lifelong obsession with Gavin Maxwell's Ring of Bright Water trilogy, Boothby was given the chance to move to Maxwell's former home, a tiny island on the western seaboard of the Highlands of Scotland.
Island of Dreams is about Boothby's time living there, and about the natural and human history that surrounded him; it's about the people he meets and the stories they tell, and about his engagement with this remote landscape, including the otters that inhabit it. Interspersed with Boothby's own story is a quest to better understand the mysterious Gavin Maxwell.
Beautifully written and frequently leavened with a dry wit, Island of Dreams is a charming celebration of the particularities of place.

In the media

Evocative. . .A lively, often funny tribute to the place and to the people he meets there. . .Island of Dreams shows him emerging from the shadow of his hero to become a gifted writer himself
Daily Mail
The writing is as crisp as the coastal air, shot through with the humour of humanity and bright animal magic
The pleasure in reading Island of Dreams comes from Dan Boothby's refusal to add yet another purely self-indulgent narrative to the growing memoir canon. Instead, he seamlessly weaves wholly autobiographical elements with both biography and sense of place. . .Island of Dreams is not only Maxwell's story. It is a portrait of the rugged Scottish coast, the local wildlife and the people who spend at least part of the year in such harshly beautiful places. Above all, it describes how each of these facets mirrors Boothby's own search for meaning. It is thrilling to realize along with him that he has made an inspired choice. . . [a] fine memoir of one edge-dweller's fortuitous entwinement with the life of another
Times Literary Supplement