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Novel set in the Isle of Man (“no woman is an island”)

31st July 2016

The Cosmopolitan Islander by M P Tonnesen, novel set in the Isle of Man.

Can women have it all? What price success and happiness? What is the role and identify of women in early 21st Century in Western society?

novel set in the isle of man

Chloe finds herself on the Isle of Man – an island in the fierce and unforgiving Irish Sea – with her husband Konrad, they have relocated for Digital, his new employer. By birth she is Danish, but has spent much of her life in buzzy London, so this quiet island is going to be a challenge, there is no doubt. She is destined for expat life on a rocky outcrop, rocky perhaps in more ways than she could have imagined. Chloe soon finds herself part of the Digi Divas group largely comprising Scandinavian wives of the executives at Digital. It’s a way to socialise and get to know other incomers to the island.

She is now pretty much a full-time mum to Viktor but as we are taken on a journey of her past, we can see the relationships she has had, the work commitments that have driven her at times into the ground, and the complexities of  the relationship with her mother (which eventually culminated in Chloe cutting her maternal bonds at the point of her marriage to Konrad). These events set the scene for where she finds herself in the present, largely marooned on the Isle of Man and debating her future.

The vagaries of life – the pressure to maintain a big job whilst juggling other factors in her life – soon come cascading down on her and she has to steer her emotional boat through stormy waters. These are uncharted and scary territories for her.

The book is in part an examination of a couple relationship, husband and wife trying to find their path through life, and it is well observed. The writing is strong and clear and certainly kept me hooked in to see how the relationship dilemmas pan out. The good writing style can, however, be marred at times by curious turns of phrase such as ‘…we still don’t have a full picture of neither the current situation nor the future scenario“..and “upwards and onwards” (I only know it as onwards and upwards) or nothing venture, nothing win...These of course can be ironed out in the next edition but do tend to interrupt the flow of fluid reading.

The whole story is focussed on setting Chloe’s experience within a bigger context, so that the reader can understand why she might be driven to think and act the way she does and go on to make her unique life choices. I found the relationship dilemmas with Konrad interesting, Chloe’s struggle to find a life for herself well thought through, but overall the narrative seemed unsure whether ultimately this was a book destined to be an exploration of a couple dynamic, or a bodice ripper.

Chloe certainly is a cosmopolitan traveller and in terms of TripFiction the various locales serve as a backdrop for the storyline, though are not “characters’ per se. The cover is absolutely Isle of Man. An enjoyable read.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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