Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews



A dazzling debut novel of love and loss, faith and atonement, on an untamed nineteenth-century Scottish island.

Exquisitely written and profoundly moving, Island of Wings is a richly imagined novel about two people struggling to keep their love, and their family, alive in a place of extreme hardship and unearthly beauty. Everything lies ahead for Lizzie and Neil McKenzie when they arrive at the St. Kilda islands in July of 1830. Neil is to become the minister to the small community of islanders, and Lizzie-bright, beautiful, and devoted-is pregnant with their first child. As the two adjust to life at the edge of civilization, where the natives live in squalor and babies perish mysteriously, their marriage-and their sanity-are soon threatened.


About Karin Altenberg

See more books from this Author
KARIN ALTENBERG is senior advisor to the Swedish National Heritage Board and is a fellow of the Linnean Society. She is currently at work on her second novel. She lives in London.
Published December 27, 2011 by Penguin Books. 321 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Island of Wings

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

The tax man (the island belongs to a laird on the mainland) comes a few times per year to collect his revenue in feathers and drop off supplies, but generally the islanders live in isolation.

Dec 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Island of Wings: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

As Lizzie battles loneliness and despair, Neil throws himself into converting the islanders (more for himself than for them), and the novel darkens.

Nov 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Island of Wings: A Novel

The Bookbag

Summary: In this compelling book combining adventure, love and historical testimony based on real people's lives, a Presbyterian missionary Rev Neil MacKenzie and his pregnant wife, Lizzie, are sent to the Hebridian island of St Kilda to bring the population back to God, away from their odd super...

Mar 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Island of Wings: A Novel

Her debut novel, elegantly written in impeccable English - her second language - is as remarkable for the shimmering quality of her prose as for her recreation of the brutal realities and grinding poverty of life on the isolated archipelago of St Kilda in the 1830s.

Apr 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Island of Wings: A Novel

The Coast

Although the setting seems otherworldly, it is based on actual historical events, including the arrival of Minister Neil Mackenzie and his wife Lizzie in 1830.

Sep 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Island of Wings: A Novel

Reader Rating for Island of Wings

An aggregated and normalized score based on 19 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review