“The Colony” by Audrey Magee-nearly great

I am listening to a book at the moment called “The Colony” by Audrey Magee. It was “longlisted” for the Booker prize, whatever that means.

It is excellent save for, in my opinion, one or two troubling caveats. Which leave a niggling doubt in the back of my mind and prevent me from loving it.

There are a couple of occasions in the book when a detail or fact is simply not credible or believable. No matter how good the rest of the book, regardless of how good the dialogue is (and it is excellent), one or two facts let the narrative down.

For example, the notion that James will be going off to London with Mr Lloyd to have six paintings included in an exhibition to be put on by Mr Lloyd’s wife is stretching credulity.

Why? Because James is only 15 or 16, has no training in painting, has not finished secondary school, and has only started drawing since Mr Lloyd arrived on the island.

Quite frankly, this just beggars belief.

There are one or two other scenes which are over the top and exaggerated, but you might give them the benefit of the doubt.

But James going off to London with an Englishman at the age of 15 or 16 and ‘going to art school’ is such a significant act in the context of the novel that it cannot be overlooked.

But I am enjoying the book and would strongly recommend it.