A frank, practical, and entertaining exploration of the pleasures and complexities of living on small islands.
Many people dream of living simple lives on small islands, but few are aware of some of the unique challenges that accompany this distinctive lifestyle. From negotiating surrounding waters to creating a sustainable home and making a viable life away from urban conveniences, small-island living can be rewarding or difficult (or both), depending on myriad circumstances.
Complicated Simplicity: Island Life in the Pacific Northwest draws on a variety sources to contextualize peoples’ enduring fascination with islands worldwide, including the author’s own experiences growing up on Bath Island (off Gabriola) and her interviews with over twenty intrepid figures who live on the San Juan Islands, the Gulf Islands, the Discovery Islands, and in Clayoquot Sound. Ingenuity, tenacity, and a passion for living in these special places shine through in the personal stories, as does a shared concern for safety, sustainability, and thoughtful stewardship. Engaging, inspiring, and often funny, Complicated Simplicity offers readers honest and useful insights on the joys, perils, and rewards of island life.
Capturing ‘islandness’ is as elusive as catching a wave in a jar. But through her love of island places and her joy in island living, Joy Davis provides glimpses into how traits of islandness—ingenuity, living within limits, resilience—help us survive and thrive together on island earth.
"If you or anyone you know is contemplating life on an island, this book—both cautionary and inspiring—is essential."
"Complicated Simplicityis a thorough exploration of the oft romanticized ideal of being an islander."
In Complicated Simplicity, Joy Davis has done for islands what Farley Mowat once did for wolves; she has provided a much deeper understanding and enlightenment of true island life, and the type of hardy, salty souls who choose off-grid islands as homes: where failure is knowledge, simplicity is best, and life is timed not so much by the clock but by the wind, the sun, and the tides. Highly recommended for anyone who as ever lived on an island, or dreamt of doing so.
Complicated Simplicity is a journalistic inquiry, executed with integrity and sensitivity, that yields insight, wonder, and even joy.
Joy Davis is an old-growth islander who values practical advice and good stories. She brings both to this funny, smart, poignant guide, along with a caution that the experience of island living is something you carry with you the rest of your life.
Part memoir, part manual for slow(er) living, and part anthropological essay . . .Complicated Simplicity>/i> is bound to please armchair travellers, west coast historians, island studies scholars, and small islanders alike.
Joy Davis provides wannabe islanders with a ‘how-to guide for island living,’ describing the complex realities of island life on the Pacific coast. Raised on Bath Island, she explores the joys and the hardships that make island life rewarding for some and not for others.
"Davis is a genial guide to the archipelagic Northwest, and to the strenuous pleasures of small, distant lands. Her book is thoroughly attuned to practical details and the texture of coastal experience."
"Davis provides an excellent blueprint of what it takes to live on an island."