Islands of Abandonment

Cal Flyn

£9.99

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HarperCollins Publishers
20 January 2022
ISBN: 9780008329808
Multiple formats
384 pages

From the publisher

THE SUNDAY TIMES’ BESTSELLER AND SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT BOOK OF THE YEAR

WINNER OF THE SUNDAY TIMES YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT CONSERVATION AWARD

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BRITISH ACADEMY BOOK PRIZE

SHORTLISTED FOR THE HIGHLAND BOOK PRIZE

This is a book about abandoned places: ghost towns and exclusion zones, no man’s lands and fortress islands – and what happens when nature is allowed to reclaim its place.

In Chernobyl, following the nuclear disaster, only a handful of people returned to their dangerously irradiated homes. On an uninhabited Scottish island, feral cattle live entirely wild. In Detroit, once America’s fourth-largest city, entire streets of houses are falling in on themselves, looters slipping through otherwise silent neighbourhoods.

This book explores the extraordinary places where humans no longer live – or survive in tiny, precarious numbers – to give us a possible glimpse of what happens when mankind’s impact on nature is forced to stop. From Tanzanian mountains to the volcanic Caribbean, the forbidden areas of France to the mining regions of Scotland, Flyn brings together some of the most desolate, eerie, ravaged and polluted areas in the world – and shows how, against all odds, they offer our best opportunities for environmental recovery.

By turns haunted and hopeful, this luminously written world study is pinned together with profound insight and new ecological discoveries that together map an answer to the big questions: what happens after we’re gone, and how far can our damage to nature be undone?

More praise for Islands of Abandonment

‘Extraordinary … Just when you thought there was nowhere left to explore, along comes an author with a new category of terrain … Dazzling’ SPECTATOR

‘A haunting look at how nature fights back … Beautiful, evocative’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘Flyn’s brave, thorough book sets out to explore places where angels fear to tread … The result is fascinating, eerie and strange … There is some thrilling writing here’ KATHLEEN JAMIE, NEW STATESMAN

‘Wonderful’ ADAM NICOLSON

‘Exhilarating’ DAILY TELEGRAPH