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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Anthony Stancomb shares his experience of moving to the Croatian island of Vis. Notes From a Very Small Island is a delightful view of leaving behind the old and embracing the new. Approaching mid-life, Anthony Stancomb and his wife, Ivana, decide to uproot themselves from British city life and move to Vis. They discover many things while settling in; the islanders are rough and scarred by years of communism, yet they are extremely passionate about life. The sea is the focus of life for all on the island: boats sailing and mooring, the catch of the day, and the winds that blow across the water are pivotal to the way of life. Politics, traditions, music and food are embellished by the idiosyncrasies of the island. But it is wine that is the “lifeblood of the island.” Anthony and Ivana set out to obtain a simpler life; they are not disappointed, for who could be disappointed with such beauty and the fellowship of a few good friends.
Anthony Stancomb conveys a firsthand testimony of life on the island of Vis in Notes From a Very Small Island. Sights, sounds, tastes and smells, and the basic feel of the island are told from his point of view, an outsider looking in – an Englishman no less. This narrative is not just verbal snapshots of landscapes or inviting tales of local cuisine. Stancomb depicts the culture of the island along with its historical value, culture and legacy. Written invitingly, Stancomb’s sarcasm, wit and humor make this piece of non-fiction very entertaining. He is honest about the challenges, never sugar coating reality. By the end, he concludes that island life is not for everyone, especially not the faint of heart. However, for those willing to spread their wings and plunge into life surrounded by history and the love of the sea, the island way of life is paradise.