By David Hogan – I can’t remember what circuitous path of weblinks took me to David Hogan’s website, but it looked interesting enough that I ordered his book. Unlike a best-seller or a famous author about whose work the reader starts with a set of assumptions, I knew nada about Hogan or his work.
I feel well rewarded for my curiosity. The story’s narrator is a former Boston fire fighter, attempting to escape a past tragedy, who takes up a bartending job on a remote Greek island and moves to a weatherbeaten one-room shack in an even more isolated cove on the island, near another shack inhabited by the elusive Kerryn. It’s some while before he even sees her, and then skimming magically over the water of the cove in the moonlight.
The island’s small population, which makes its living by fishing, is torn by factions. One group is using new nets that ultimately will destroy the fishing industry and give the islanders no choice but to embrace development and tourism, and the other group wants to keep the community’s simpler, traditional life. The secondary characters who take sides in this conflict are portrayed both convincingly and entertainingly.
It turns out Kerryn is an animal rights activist who has befriended a dolphin, whom she calls Yukon, who symbolizes all that will be lost if development proceeds. The dolphin becomes as much a character and a player as many of the people. The conflicts that ensue are intimate and devastating.
Hogan calls The Last Island “a universal tale of escape, love and redemption.” A screenwriter, his writing is smooth and compelling in this appealing novel.