Friday - by Michel Tournier

However many of us have dreamed of finding ourselves washed upon the shores of windswept, unpeopled islands, probably a similar number in Britain have looked through their collections of records and books, and secretly imagined being interviewed for the BBC’s radio show Desert Island Discs. Of all the luxuries we own, which do we treasure highly enough to take with us on our survivalist adventure? In the novel Friday, or The Other Island by Michel Tournier, one of several retellings of Defoe’s classic, the castaway Robinson wakes to find himself in just that situation, predictably, with the Bible as his only company. What follows though is a book which is anything but predictable: as the sunburned young Yorkshireman’s memory of human contact gradually fails him, Robinson swims against the tides of aloneness and delirium and fights to exert some kind of will on his world, small as it has become. Winner of the French Academy’s Grand Prix du Roman in 1967, Tournier’s version of the Robinsonade becomes a psychedelic solo-show of sexuality and self-doubt in the absence of other human beings. For a time he even seems to have mastered nature itself, until one morning of course, when a young boy called Friday arrives on the beachJD

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