by Paul Harding
Reviewed by Linda:Paul Harding, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction a decade ago, has written a heart-breaking novel based on a little-known true story about a community that formed on a New England island. In 1792, a formerly enslaved man and his Irish wife found their way to an isolated island on the Maine coast, where they set up a home. Over a century later, their descendants, and others who had come seeking a home, were a diverse group of poor, often hungry families who were, nonetheless, thankful for the freedom from racism on the island. Then, in 1912, an idealistic teacher from the mainland began a school for the island's children. Soon after, state authorities, influenced by the eugenics movement, decided to forcibly evacuate the island and institutionalize the inhabitants in the hopes of turning the island into a vacation destination. A novel that makes vivid the tragedy that took place on Malaga Island.