Former member Debra described the book perfectly on her Goodreads review " Heart wrenchingly beautiful novel about loves lost and moral sacrifices made for one's children." I would also want to add that it deals a lot with the theme of isolation, especially feeling isolated in your troubles even when your loved ones are around you.
This is definitely a book about extremes. Living in a world where we are constantly connected, it's difficult to imagine what it would be like to live out on an island for years at a time with very few visitors. It's definitely an extreme situation in and of itself. This intensifies as each event transpires. There were points while I was listening to it, that I wanted to yell out at the characters to just stop and think about what they were doing. It's definitely one of those stories where the characters have to figure out what is the best thing to do even though nothing is a good choice. By the end of the book it was hard not to feel exhausted from following what happened.
One thing we did agree on was that we thought the author was a little heavy handed with description. While her language was poetic, there were a couple of places where she laid it on very thick, causing you to think the story was about to go in one direction, but then it just stopped, with nothing coming of all the build up. Sara noted that she found it difficult to like any of the characters - because even the "'good people' were too spineless and too martyr-like". Rina gave the book bonus points for including a map (although she did say that she would have liked the map more if it had been the map of the island that the characters drew in the book). I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by an Australian. While this upped the authenticity quotient, this made it harder to understand when he was reading whispered conversations or breathy female characters.
Overall the club liked the book. Nobody overwhelmingly loved or hated it. Most of us gave it 3 or 4 stars.