The Colony

Mr Lloyd has decided to travel to the island by boat without engine – the authentic experience.

Unbeknownst to him, Mr Masson will also soon be arriving for the summer. Both will strive to encapsulate the truth of this place – one in his paintings, the other with his faithful rendition of its speech, the language he hopes to preserve.

But the people who live here on this rock – three miles long and half-a-mile wide – have their own views on what is being recorded, what is being taken and what is given in return. Over the summer each of the women and men in the household this French and Englishman join is forced to question what they value and what they desire. At the end of the summer, as the visitors head home, there will be a reckoning.

Published 3 February 2022

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“The Colony: so brilliant in its quiet tragedy, so revealing in its precision. It haunts me.”
— TSITSI DANGAREMBGA, author of 'This Mournable Body'
“The Colony is a vivid and memorable book about art, land and language, love and sex, youth and age. Big ideas tread lightly through Audrey Magee’s strong prose.”
— SARAH MOSS, author of 'The Fell'
“Intelligent and provocative… What a relief it is to find a novel that treats the reader as a grown-up, that is fresh without chasing literary fashion, provocative but not shouty, and idiosyncratic but fully satisfying from the strange comedy of its opening pages to its decisive conclusion… The Colony contains multitudes — on families, on men and women, on rural communities — with much of it just visible on the surface, like the flicker of a smile or a shark in the water.”
“Austere and stark… a story about language and identity, about art, oppression, freedom and colonialism. The Colony is a novel about big, important things.”
— Financial Times
“Magee is in control of every marvellous word. Her descriptions of a beautiful stretch of land within a beautiful but treacherous ocean are as dazzling as the sun-speckled glints on the ocean itself.”
— The Sunday Independent
“The Colony is a novel of outstanding resonance, with a portray of language in a post-colonial landscape that is both masterful and subtle.”
— The Sunday Business Post
“Magee’s involving and original novel considers questions of imperialism, ownership, power and exploitation on both a grand scale and an intimate one, obliquely and head-on… there is droll humour, too, and the whole is animated by her characters’ often entertaining back-and-forth.”
— Daily Mail
“The Colony offers beguiling insights into what it means to be the colonised and the coloniser and is a subtle portrait of character and place . . . beyond this, Magee’s delicate transporting novel is an impressive celebration of the need for connection.”
— Independent, Books of the Month

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— Hatchard's, Piccadilly, London