The Coconut Book: A Novel
In the middle of the Pacific Ocean there is a forgotten castaway living on a tiny island.
“The Coconut Book is a literary tour de force… A strong sense of place.”
‘The Sunday Telegraph’
“Man, marooned on a desert island is a recurrent phenomenon of the novelist’s imagination, and Richard Maynard… tackles it with brilliance and dark, uncompromising despair.”
He writes his story in a battered paperback novel, covering the space between printed lines and around the margins before packing the book into a coconut shell and sending it out to drift to sea, hoping that it will be found. Who is this forgotten man?
In a remarkable feat of imaginative skill, Richard Maynard records the thoughts, feelings and struggle for survival of the ultimate castaway, a man whose name and background we are never told but whose inner life we come to know intimately. Alone on his few square yards of sand, rocks and stunted palms he writes of his despair and self-pity, his triumphs and fantasies, his struggle to stay alive. He occupies his time by measuring the island that has become his prison, and the solitary spider that shares his home becomes his only friend.
As time goes by, dreams and reality begin to blend. He realises that the elderly man who appears before him is a figment of his imagination, as are the sounds of music and laughter that float across the sea from an island that seems to be in the distant haze. One day he will find the courage to swim over to the island, following the sounds of music…
“It is impossible to describe how utterly convincingly… Maynard describes this experience.”
“A brilliantly conceived novel of an ordinary man trying to come to terms when he becomes a lone survivor on a tiny Pacific island.”
‘Yorkshire Evening Post’