Robert Creeley: The Island

The latest addition to my website is Robert Creeley‘s The Island. This is an autobiographical novel by Creeley – his first – about the breakdown of his marriage to Ann McKinnon (his first of three marriages). John, the Creeley character, and his wife, Joan, are living on an unnamed Spanish island (but clearly Majorca where the couple lived with their three children). Joan is trying to bring up the children while John spends his time drinking with Artie, a permanently impoverished, often loud-mouthed English poet (based on Martin Seymour-Smith). We gradually watch the marriage fall apart, as John makes only feeble efforts to behave better and Joan becomes more and more distant from him. Meanwhile, other writers turn up and help John with his drinking. It is a fine portrait of a failing marriage, though Creeley would continue to be known for his poetry rather than his prose.

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