Book Review: Archipelago: An Atlas of Imagined Islands

Archipelago: An Atlas of Imagined Islands edited + with an essay titled “Islomania” by Huw Lewis-Jones, prologue by Chris Riddell, 90+ illustrations by almost as many artists. Thames & Hudson, 2019. 9780500022566. 192pp. including notes about each of the contributors.

Each of the island maps in the book is accompanied by a few paragraphs about it. The landscapes are usually beautiful and often bewildering or amusing, and each has its own style. My favorite maps are Xlibris by comics creator Kevin Cannon, who filled his island with stacks of books and locations like Rare Signed First Edition Mountain and Free Coffee Coast. It is, of course, full of happy readers and cats. Graphic novelist Isabel Greenberg’s island includes Angria and Gondal, which were invented by the Brontë kids (and I believe are the subject of Greenberg’s next book). Illustrator James Gulliver Hancock’s Laputa-Nova: Gulliver’s Island Of Perpetual Self Realisation & Connection is full of beautiful colors and simple shapes, and seems like a great place to get lost. Yeji Yun’s Tipple imagines a far north filled with animals in search of the perfect cocktail.

This is a lovely book to flip through, and the notes on each island are amusing, too. It could serve as a great introduction to different styles of illustration and to the artists’ work.


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