Islands of Abandonment

Cal Flyn

£16.99

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HarperCollins Publishers
21 January 2021
ISBN: 9780008329761
Hardback
384 pages

From the publisher

'The most precious hymn to resilience ... written with a beautiful attention to detail ... Wonderful ' ADAM NICOLSON, winner of the 2018 Wainwright Prize


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


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?


'A redemptive, celebratory pageant of a book, rich in reflection and revelation'
Gavin Francis, author of Island Dreams
'Meticulous research, lyrical writing'
Louise Gray, author of The Ethical Carnivore
'Fascinating, poignant, mysterious, surreal, compelling'
Keggie Carew, bestselling author of Dadland