Monthly Archives: November 2011

Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg

Island of Wings
Karin Altenberg
Penguin Paperback Original
On Sale:  December 27, 2011
eGalley available through NetGalley 

“Drawing on historically accurate roots, including real-life figures Neil and Lizzie MacKenzie, Altenberg creates a mesmerizing tapestry that will surely linger in the reader’s mind.”

“Altenberg’s book is deeply entrenched in historical detail, vivid in its descriptions of geography”
—Publishers Weekly 

 “With scrupulous attention to place, history, and the natural world, ISLAND OF WINGS tells a story washed by a clean and lovely kind of sorrow.”
—Anne Enright, Man Booker Prize–winning author of The Gathering 

“Karin Altenberg… combines scrupulous research with psychological acuity in exploring the marital and pastoral struggles of Reverend Neil Mackenzie, minister of St Kilda from 1829 to 1844. His flock is essentially pagan: they worship their ancestors, not Christ. Yet they accept their sufferings with an implacable serenity that highlights Mackenzie’s demons and doubts, driving him to the brink of madness.”
The Economist “Pick of Summer Fiction”

“It isn’t easy for a contemporary writer to get inside a Calvinist mind, or to depict how people could live with any dignity in such a primitive place … By respecting the details of religious history and the natural world, Altenberg does both beautifully.”
Guardian (UK)

Sailing west from theHebridesto the islands of St. Kilda in July of 1830, everything lies ahead for Lizzie and Neil McKenzie. Neil is to become the minister to the small community of islanders and Lizzie, his new wife, is pregnant with their first child.

ISLAND OF WINGS is a voyage mixed with adventure and redemption. Neil’s journey is evangelical: a testing and strengthening of his own faith against the old pagan ways of the St. Kildans as well as a passage to atonement. For Lizzie—bright, beautiful and devoted—this is an excursion into the unknown. Her only certainty is her loyalty and love for her husband, both of which will be sorely tested in the years to come.

About Karin Altenberg
Born and brought up in southern Sweden, Karin Altenberg moved toBritainto study in 1996. She holds a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Reading. Her thesis was published in 2001 and won the Nordenstedska Foundation Award. She is currently senior advisor to the Swedish National Heritage Board and is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. ISLAND OF WINGS is her first novel. She is currently working on her second.

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Filed under Fiction, Historical, Literary