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Stranger Than Fiction: The Far Land and Other Unusual Stories with Brandon Presser

The Far Island and Other Unusual Stories with Brandon PresserWithout really knowing it until now, much of my career as a travel writer has been focused on finding those “stranger than fiction” stories throughout the world. The human element of travel—connecting with people in faraway places—has always been important to me, but it’s the unusual and cerebral that get my fingers clicking away on my laptop. As such, narrative nonfiction—tales told in a novelistic manner but using only fact—has become my favorite genre of storytelling, so it’s not surprising then that my first foray away from guidebooks and magazine features falls neatly into this category.

The Far Land recounts the wickedly true story of a group of individuals who spend the greater part of two decades in the late 18th century marooned on a small island like a real-life game of Survivor or a Lord of the Flies. Today, the island—Pitcairn—remains inhabited by their descendants and in 2018 I had an opportunity to visit aboard a cargo freighter that passes the island but four times a year. The Far Land recounts my experience on the island as well, and the ghosts of the past that haunt Pitcairn today. What starts as a swashbuckling adventure in both timelines soon devolves into a journey of the mind, unpacking the darker elements of the human condition as social claustrophobia begins to set in; malice and mystery is the hallmark of the Pitcairn experience, much like some of my favorite books in the genre below.

 


About the Author

Brandon Presser was born in Ottawa, Canada, and has lived in Paris, Tokyo, and New York City. Called a “rough-and-tough adventurer” by Entertainment Weekly, he has visited over 130 countries, and his travel writing has been featured in numerous publications including BloombergHarper’s BazaarCondé Nast Traveler and Lonely Planet. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.