Island (Ivan Vladislavic)
My ancestors were islanders. My father’s people came to South Africa from a small island in the Adriatic, my mother’s from seafaring towns in England and Ireland. These immigrants established themselves in Pretoria, in the interior of the country, where there is not even a major river, let alone a lake or a sea. When I first became aware of these facts, it amazed me that people who had grown up with the sea breeze on their faces and salt in their veins would choose to live in a landlocked place, six hundred kilometres from the nearest ocean.
My favourite book as a child – how many children must have said this! – was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. It was one of the books I read that made me want to write. After reading it for the first time, I dreamed up an island of my own and drew a map of it, complete with coves, lagoons, marshes, mountains and all the other features that make a place worth exploring in a child’s imagination. Inevitably, this setting evoked people and I began to make up stories for them. A few years ago, in a biography of Stevenson, I discovered that his Treasure Island came to life in the same way. During the wet Scottish summer of 1881, Stevenson and his young stepson Lloyd amused themselves by drawing an island, and then filling it with people, and in the course of this game, the writer found his great adventure story.
Writing takes me back to the water. On the island of the book, the writer is both king and castaway. The reader who follows after, carried to the island on some quirky current of the human story, may be king and castaway too.
Pour citer cette ressource :
Ivan Vladislavić, "Island (Ivan Vladislavic)", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mai 2014. Consulté le 02/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/litterature/entretiens-et-textes-inedits/island-ivan-vladislavic-