‘Off-Island’ is the latest book by Marlene Hauser.
Krista Bourne has always been surrounded by the strength, love and wealth of her family and their homes in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard. She has never had to think for herself. Living with boyfriend Michael and her elderly grandfather, she can also summon up the comforting ghosts of her beloved father and grandmother. In vivid dreams she flies with her pilot father, and when awake remembers idyllic childhood holidays spent with her bohemian grandmother. When Krista impulsively walks out on her career as a professional dancer, it is the beginning of a new chapter in her life. She feels unsettled and excited by the sense of imminent change around her. This feeling turns to panic, then fear when she realises that she is pregnant and is uncertain whether or not she wants to keep the baby, bringing her and Michael to a crossroads in their relationship. Adamant that she alone must deal with the situation, Krista rejects all offers of support from him, isolating her at a time when she most needs help. Krista’s journey and emotional upheaval take her back to her summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, where she is surprised to find out that she does not know her family history quite as well as she imagined…
Although I found this book to be an interesting tale, I found it sometimes to be an unsettling story as the lead character battled with emotions and morals as she decided to have an abortion. A difficult decisison to make, we follow the young woman called Krista as she disappears to try to clear her head whilst talking to the dead people in her life, including the baby. As Krista returns to her childhood home, we reflects on times that were much easier and didn’t require the responsibility that she’s suddenly faced with.
The story is quite short, at only 166 pages long could be considered more of a novella than a novel and was easy to consume in one sitting. I found Krista to be quite a complex character, she excludes those close to her and still has never really recovered from the sudden death of her father and all the emotions seem to come flooding back to her as she deals with the abortion and the what if of life.
‘Off-Island’ is a beautifully written and descriptive story giving the reader a clear mindset into Krista’s mind. An emotive and claustophobic tale of loss and grief, this book is a reflective story of the consequences of decisions and the actions you make in life.
You can buy ‘Off-Island’ from Amazon