A N Wilson’s new novel describes an earthquake that hits a city in a former British colony in the Pacific. He is at pains to say in a note at the beginning of the book that his fictional country, the Island, is not based on New Zealand, and that the earthquake that destroys his fictional city of Aberdeen is not intended to mimic the one that devastated Christ-church in 2011.
It’s a strangely unnecessary thing to say up front – why close off resonances before the reader has even begun reading? Once the novel gets going, however, Wilson builds up the historical, political and social background of the Island superbly. The Island, we are told, was first settled in the