Dark, mournful, and beautiful, Sarah Tolmie's The Fourth Island is a moving and unforgettable story of life and death on the hidden Irish island of Inis Caillte.
Huddled in the sea off the coast of Ireland is a fourth Aran Island, a secret island peopled by the lost, findable only in moments of despair. Whether drowned at sea, trampled by Cromwell's soldiers, or exiled for clinging to the dead, no outsiders reach the island without giving in to dark emotion.
Time and again, The Fourth Island weaves a hypnotic pattern with its prose, presaging doom before walking back through the sweet and sour moments of lives not yet lost. It beautifully melds the certainty of loss with the joys of living, drawing readers under like the tide.
Sarah Tolmie is the author of the Tordotom novella The Fourth Island (2020), the poetry collections Check (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2020) and The Art of Dying (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018), the 120-sonnet sequence Trio (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), and the chapbook Sonnet in a Blue Dress and Other Poems (Baseline Press, 2014). She has published two novels with Aqueduct Press, The Little Animals (2019) and The Stone Boatmen (2014), as well as two short fiction collections, Two Travelers (2016) and NoFood (2014). She is a medievalist trained at the University of Toronto and Cambridge and is a Professor of English at the University of Waterloo.
“The Fourth Island is both beguiling and unsettling, both mythic and earthy. A truly memorable story, beautifully crafted.” —Juliet Marillier, author of the Warrior Bards series
“The contemplative style, low stakes, and small cast is reminiscent of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle and is worthy of the association.” —Publishers Weekly
“The Fourth Island is an absolute gem of a story, full of wonder, melancholy and no little wisdom.” —Peadar Ó Guilín
“Part charm, part history, part ravishing spell in itself, The Fourth Island is the best kind of ghost story, reminding us of all the good and the bad in the world. I loved this book.” —Helen Marshall