309pp., illus., hardback, d.w., London, 2022
William Atkins travels to the islands of banishment of three nineteenth-century dissidents: Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo, an enemy of British colonialism in Zululand (St Helena); Louise Michel, a leader of the Paris Commune (New Caledonia), and Lev Shternberg, a militant campaigner against Russian tsarism (Sakhalin).
"A fascinating study of exile and its effects ... Exile isn't, as Atkins shrewdly comments on Ovid's poems on the theme, a place so much as a process, a movement ... In a restless, rootless world, the idea of exile has broad purchase. Atkins taps into this, judiciously mixing history with memoir ... Empire took Michel, Dinuzulu and Shternberg from their homes. Atkins identifies a subtler, more radical dislocation at work, too: empire took home from them." Madoc Cairns, Observer
"A finely crafted and lyrical meditation on exile ... Atkins's finely turned prose succeeds in assembling a vivid kaleidoscope of overlapping chronologies which illuminates legacies of imperial power and native dispossession that have endured long after the penal settlements were abandoned." Daniel Beer, Times Literary Supplement
"A brilliant book ... I cannot commend you enough for the lyrical and lush language which you deployed to think about the many pains, losses and gains of exile. [Atkins has] done Dinuzulu's exile an immense service by bringing it into view in the most thoughtful and engaged way" Professor Hlonipha Mokoena, author of Magma Fuze: The making of an African intellectual
Travel writer William Atkins is the author of The Moor and The Immeasurable World, winner of the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award and the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence Award. He is a regular contributor to Granta, and his journalism has been published in Harper's, the Guardian and the New York Times.