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3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  42 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The year is 1928, andSabir—petty criminal, drifter, war veteran—is on a prison ship, bound for a notorious penal settlement in the French tropics. On his arrival, he is sent out to a work camp deep in the South American rain forest. There, he wins the confidence of the camp's idealistic commandant, who sets him the task of carving a landscaped garden out of the surrounding ...more
Paperback, 345 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by HarperCollins UK (first published August 6th 2007)
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Mar 30, 2012 Stacia rated it it was amazing
I don't want to give away too much about the story, but I will say 'read it'! (FYI, these days it's a bargain price of $5.98 on amazon or $3.99 on bookcloseouts for those in the US.) I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who loves Heart of Darkness, the jungle feel of Apolcalypse Now, hazy lines between reality and imagination, philosophical works along the lines of Camus (and perhaps a bit of Kafka tossed in). Two of the main themes are escape & reality -- escape from physical places, esca ...more
Oct 27, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
“In the East, the Far East, when a person is sentenced to death, they're sent to a place where they can't escape, never knowing when an executioner may step up behind them, and fire a bullet into the back of their head.”

All right, that isn’t from Colony, it’s from the David Lynch film Lost Highway. I read this novel after hearing it had been compared with Lynch’s film. And the comparison is really remarkable. Both begin by following the story of a man who has been incarcerated for (probably) com
Aug 11, 2014 Ian rated it really liked it
Colony, Hugo Wilcken's second novel, was published to scant publicity and little fanfare in 2007. The reasons why it has remained obscure start with a bland, forgettable cover design that looks like it might have been thrown together in ten minutes and cost the publisher a couple of pounds. Next, the novel itself is difficult to categorize, and in a marketing climate where any new product is defined using comparisons to already successful and familiar products, this spells doom from the get go. ...more
Andrew Leon Hudson
Feb 07, 2014 Andrew Leon Hudson rated it it was amazing
A criminal is dispatched to a primitive colonial penitentiary and we are sent with him. He survives the harsh journey, survives his harsh bedfellows, survives the pitfalls that lie beneath dangerous dreams of escape by ignoring them as best he can, and is rewarded with the possibility of more than merely survival, a chance to create another life for himself. But at that very point of critical balance, he begins to listen to the dreams again, follows and is claimed by them, and can only escape in ...more
Ian  Cann
Nov 20, 2015 Ian Cann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stark, brutal and tense, a really well written novel, gives you the real sense in which all the prisoners, guards, even the commandant and escapees are all trapped in 'The Colony', purgatory but with no hope of escape. The post-WW1 setting is played upon, with the horrors of the trenches playing upon the minds of those prisoners who are veterans such as Sabir, Manne and Edouard. Definitely worth your time, and I shall add Mr Wilcken's subsequent novels to my TBR consideration.
Oct 07, 2014 Karen rated it liked it
Whilst I was reading this book, I was trying to decide whether or not I was enjoying it. Now that I have finished it, I'm still wondering. The torpor of a tropical rainforest seems to have influenced me! I don't know what the book was trying to say, themes such as identity, ambition, love, possession and progress are explored, but I am not sure if conclusions are drawn. Read it yourself to see if you can make more sense of it. Then you can explain it to me.
Feb 12, 2014 Ashley rated it it was amazing
I want to read this book so bad, I really love this author:)
Dec 15, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
This book was obtuse enough to be interesting and though the writing wasn't as lyrical or as full of imagery as I usually like, it kept my attention until the end. There were a few loose ends and I think I worked out what happened in the end I didn't mind the characters, although they could have been more fully explored.
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