Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Colony by Hugo Wilcken

Colony (2007)

by Hugo Wilcken

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
292378,207 (3.8)2



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
Wilcken accomplishes the strange trick of raising his novel's "subtext" and injecting it into the surface of his story. So there's something very puzzle-like about this book, but for the careful reader the puzzle pieces are all out there in the open. Will the man character - a penal colony prisoner - realize his ambition to "become someone else" in order to escape? Wilcken elaborates on this theme with a stunning number of instances of doubling, partnering, modeling, and replacing. - Adam
  stephencrowe | Nov 11, 2015 |
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. This is a shame because Wilcken is a talented writer and Colony is a gripping and suspenseful book that can perhaps best be described as a close examination of the fluid nature of human identity. It is 1928 and Sabir, a French veteran of the Great War, is being shipped out to a penal colony in French Guiana. Sabir is naïve but also smart enough to know that his survival depends less on who he is than on who he can become once he reaches his destination. Once in the colony he is able to adapt quickly as circumstances change, and with lies and cunning secures a comfortable position as gardener, working for the camp commandant. In the first part of the novel suspense builds as we approach Sabir’s escape attempt with several partners, one of whom—the enigmatic Edouard—is an acquaintance from Sabir’s time in the trenches. In the novel’s second part another French veteran, Manne, arrives in the colony on a mission to find his friend: the same Edouard. But Manne’s origins are as obscure as his intentions—he is already traveling under an assumed identity using forged papers and a bogus story to justify his presence in the colony—and he foolishly risks everything by forming an ill-considered alliance with the commandant’s beautiful but unreliable wife, agreeing to help her escape. This is a story that, scene by scene, conceals as much as it reveals, and by doing so suggests that trust between individuals is virtually impossible because in our heart we are all hiding the person we really are. Wilcken’s spare and coolly efficient prose is filled with profound observations on human behaviour, and displays true power in its terse evocation of lives being lived at the point where the struggle for survival intersects with the pursuit of something more. Readers will find themselves turning the pages to discover what happens, but also wishing to delay getting to the end because the reading is so pleasurable. It’s an exquisite dilemma. As of this writing (August 2014), both of Hugo Wilcken’s novels (Colony and The Execution) are available on BookOutlet.com. ( )
  icolford | Aug 11, 2014 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
'I did not die - yet nothing of life remained', Dante, Inferno, Canto XXXIV.
For Julie and Léon.
First words
Lurid rumours abound about life in the penal colony.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
3 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.8)
3 1
3.5 1
4 2
4.5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,449,184 books! | Top bar: Always visible