Publication Date: 13/07/2023 ISBN: 9781788163538 Category:

Sanderson’s Isle

James Clarke

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Publication Date: 13/07/2023 ISBN: 9781788163538 Category:


Become the envy of all book lovers with your own Mr B’s sticker to show off where you do your shopping.



‘[An] engaging, inventive literary noir … full of neat twists and potent writing’ Independent Book of the Month

‘A feisty, subversive countervision of England’s lost futures and buried longings’ Rob Doyle, author of Threshold

A Burley Fisher Book of the Year 2023

1969. Thomas Speake comes to London to look for his father but finds Sanderson instead, a larger-than-life TV presenter who hosts ‘midweek madness’ parties where the punch is spiked with acid. There Speake meets Marnie and promises to help her find her adoptive child, who has been taken by her birth mother to live off-grid in a hippie commune in the Lake District.

Forced to lie low after a violent accident, Speake joins Sanderson on a tour of the Lake District, where he’s researching a book to accompany his popular TV series, Sanderson’s Isle. Fascinated by local rumours about the hippies, Sanderson joins the search for their whereabouts. Amid the fierce beauty of the mountains, the cult is forming the kind of community that Speake – a drifter who belongs nowhere – is desperate to find but has been sent to betray.

This is the follow up to James Clarke’s Betty Trask Prize-winning debut novel. It is filled with gorgeous nature writing of the urban and the rural, and its portrayal of the moment when British society was unsettled and transformed by the counterculture of the 1960s is visionary and electrifying.

‘Psychedelic 1960s London, TV personalities, counterculture in the Lake District, a lost child! Wasn’t I always going to read this book? Magnificent’ Wendy Erskine, author of Dance Move

Publisher Review

Sanderson's Isle is a hugely enjoyable sex and drug fuelled human drama, set against the gritty backdrops of 1960's London and the Lake District. Clarke's vivid writing brings his characters fully to life, each one grappling in their own way with the social turbulence at the dawn of the space age. A powerful and deeply engaging read -- Lee Schofield, author of Wild Fell What a narrator. How Speake speaks. How he bends your ear, and your heart. Sanderson's Isle sometimes reads like a lost John Braine or David Storey novel. There's even a touch of Ted Lewis in its elemental fatalism. It's that good -- Tom Benn, author of Oxblood His prose is generous and electrifying, unjudgemental and assured. A brilliant new talent * Colin Barrett * Praise for James Clarke * : * A magic portrayal of life in the peripheries * Amy Liptrot * [Clarke] writes with relish ... a ferocious portrait of a time and place * Guardian * Gorgeous, luxurious language propels a motley crew of characters as they beg, borrow, beat and maneuver their ways up and down the country, through TV shows, derelict stations, weird communes, lockhouses and forests. Extraordinarily mapped and cinematic in its sense of place, character and time through a powerful narrative voice, this is a portrait of riotous, joyful, mystical, horrible and high little Englanders that I loved. -- Rachael Allen, author of Kingdomland * Rachael Allen *

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible