Island of Dreams

Dan Boothby

07 April 2016
320 pages


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.

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
Enigmatic yet compelling . . . The book returned me to an adolescent passion for Maxwell's Ring of Bright Water
I was gripped from start to finish by Dan Boothby's ISLAND OF DREAMS. . . Never overdone, pretentious, self-absorbed or sentimental, it is written with skill and expertise with all the conviction and authority it needs to enthrall. The descriptive passages are traced with deep sensitivity and richly evocative of people, turning seasons, the loneliness of island life, and the enticing contours of the location. This is a fitting and poignant tribute to the enduring value of the Ring of Bright Water Trilogy, written as a personal quest of devotion and discovery. Boothby's disarmingly personal approach draws you into the thrall and mystique of Maxwell's literary landscape by revealing as much about the writer's self as weaving a love-spell to the island and its ghosts