When she was twenty-seven, Nell Stevens—a lifelong aspiring novelist—won an all-expenses-paid fellowship to go anywhere in the world to write. Would she choose a glittering metropolis, a romantic village, an exotic paradise? Not exactly. Nell picked Bleaker Island, a snowy, windswept pile of rock in the Falklands. Other than sheep, penguins, paranoia, and the weather, there aren’t many distractions, but as Nell soon discovers, total isolation and 1,085 calories a day are far from ideal conditions for literary production. With deft humor, this memoir traces her island days and slowly reveals the life and people she has left behind in pursuit of her writing. It seems that there is nowhere she can run—an island or the pages of her notebook—to escape the big questions of love, art, and, ambition.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When Nell Stevens was awarded a fellowship to travel anywhere in the world and use her time to write, she could have chosen Paris or Marrakech. Instead, her determination to hunker down and produce a novel sent her to a forlorn, mostly uninhabited island near Antarctica. Once there, Stevens felt ridiculous: cold, hungry, and uninspired. In the end, she didn’t finish the book she set out to write, but instead created something that’s probably even more interesting: A patchwork of diary entries, memoir, stories, and notes that perfectly capture the challenges and self-doubt of the creative process. Bleaker House is one of the most honest, original things we’ve read.