The Colony, by Audrey Magee (Faber 2022)

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The Colony is Audrey Magee's second novel, following the award winning The Undertaking. It's set on an tiny unnamed Irish island, home to a small community of islanders scratching out a living from fishing and farming. They supplement their income by accommodating guests each summer for long stays. In this book, there are unexpectedly two guests, My Lloyd, an artist from London, and Mr Masson, a Frenchman studying and hoping to preserve the Irish language. They both object to the other's presence, and become rivals for acceptance by the islanders. The book is written in spare, plain language, offering insight into the streams of consciousness of the characters. It's at the same time claustrophobic and expansive, as tension and betrayals accumulate. An excellent and original psychological thriller.