Few people become homeless voluntarily. Even fewer people escape homelessness by traveling to a wild and remote Scottish island. But that is exactly what Neil Ansell did.
In Deer Island, we see Ansell sleeping rough in the squats of London, floating through the streets as a companion to the homeless for the radical charity The Simon Community. The more people gravitate towards a life of anonymity, heroin and death, the more society crumbles around them. Failing to contain the tragedies of a life rife with poverty, Ansell’s own identity disintegrates and is swallowed up in the London tide. His escape: the Isle of Jura, off the west coast of Scotland. Only in the isolation of the wilds can he find his way back to himself.
Following on from the acclaimed Deep Country, Ansell’s journey from London to Jura deftly explores in spare and evocative prose what it means to belong and what truly makes a home.