Hipployte's Island

 Hippolyte's Island, by Barbara Hodgson

This came across the donation table and I was intrigued by all the maps and diagrams and whatnot inside.  The copy is in like-new condition, so I didn't know that it was published in 2001.  It's not very much like a Griffin and Sabine book, but I do think it's a similar aesthetic.

Hippolyte Webb is a bohemian sort of travel writer; kinetic, distracted, continually bouncing around.  Looking for a new adventure, he decides to look for the Auroras -- a small group of islands east of the Falklands, or at least so have a few explorers said.  Others haven't seen anything but open ocean, and so while some maps used to have the Auroras marked, modern maps do not.  Hippolyte figures he'll learn to sail, travel to the Falklands, find a boat, and sail out to seek for these islands.  He gets an old school buddy -- now a publisher -- to give him an advance, and off he goes.

The first half of the novel is Hippolyte's journey, and the second half is the relationship between him and his editor, the much-beset Marie.  Hippolyte drives her absolutely up the wall, and she doesn't believe that he really went on this trip anyway.  Can she pin him down to some real work on his story?  Will they drive each other mad before the book can be finished?  Will she ever manage to get his stinky samples out of her office, and...do the Auroras exist or not?

I did enjoy this funky novel, which is packed with images of notebook pages, photos of penguins, maps, and diagrams.  I'm a sucker for maps and diagrams.  There's a fold-out map tipped into pages 18-19 instead of in the front or back!  It's not deep or heavy, though if you like you can wax eloquent about the uncharted heart; it's an enjoyable read.  Hippolyte is a fun guy to read about, though you'd hate to have to live with him, and I must admit that Hodgson could have picked a better name.

And that's my first TBR book for the year!  I picked a fun one to kick off with.


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