top of page
  • N. N. Light

Have you always dreamt of moving to some exotic island and living like the locals? Notes from a Very

Title: Notes from a Very Small Island

Author: Anthony Stancomb

Genre: Travel Writing, Travel Memoir

Book Blurb:

Reviews for Under a Croatian Sun:

‘It’s escapism that really works. Full of acute observation, uncontrollable humour and a rousing climax.’ - Country Life

‘To his credit Stancomb resists the stereotype of the closed-minded British expatriate.’ - Independent on Sunday - Pick of the paperbacks

‘A thoroughly good read ---An endearing tale of a roller coaster ride.’ - Croatia Online

‘This is not a tale of your usual English couple. This is such a fantastic read ... both humorous and thought provoking.’ - Travellingbookjunkie

‘The author presents this quirky little tale in an honest way, even when he is on the receiving end of a joke. You don’t need to make a break with your past to enjoy this book. It is a fascinating, humorous and totally believable read.’ - Robin’s Reviews

‘A good read. I enjoyed best the humorous bits.’ Tony Rossiter (author of It’s Only a Bloody Game)

‘A good read.’ - Tariq Ali

Notes From a Very Small Island is the follow-up to the bestselling ‘Under a Croatian Sun’, which tells the story of a couple upping sticks and leaving their humdrum life in London for blue skies and café life on an island in Croatia.

In this second book, the couple continue their attempts to fit in with the village community, but it’s not always easy, and more often than not their endeavours involve them in in hilarious disasters.

They also now try to start some projects up, but they have to battle with maddening ex-communist authorities and highly suspicious locals. However, through this, they get to see the crippling legacies that communism and the recent war have left in the lives of their new neighbours.

Although largely a light hearted tale, the book is also a heartfelt insight into a community trying to adjust to being members of the EU and the ways of the Western World.

My Review:

Have you always dreamt of moving to some exotic island and living like the locals? Think it’s all sunshine and roses? Not exactly… just ask Anthony and Ivana Stancomb. After falling in love with the island of Vis (off the coast of Croatia), they uprooted their life and belongings to live like the locals.

Told in vignettes, Anthony pulls back the curtain and reveals the truth behind living in Vis. From his voyage by ship (along with his lovely wife), worrying about whether their fragile belongings will make the trek in one piece to forming a cricket team to buying a boat in Italy to the unfriendly locals, you’ll have fun travelling and experiencing island life through the eyes of Anthony.

A few things I learned from reading this book:

  • Island life is not all that it’s cracked up to be

  • It’s hard to fit in, even if your parents were from there

  • Croatian history (both pre and post war)

  • Joining the EU is complicated and a necessary evil

  • Cricket (and other sports) is what bonds strangers together, especially on a small island.

  • Travelling and uprooting your life can have several detractors but at the end of the day, it’s a blessing

Anthony does a brilliant job telling stories and with each story, he made me feel like I was right there. I nodded, smiled, sighed and experienced what he did. If you love to travel and are thinking of moving to an exotic place, you’ll love this book. In the same vein as “A Year in Provence” and “In Tuscany”, you’ll get swept away in the romance, history and allure of Vis.

Favorite Character:

I loved the stories about Dario. We meet him on page one and he is interspersed throughout the book. He’s a lover of music and becomes the island’s only radio DJ.

Favorite Quote:

“One of life’s greatest delights is showing one’s discoveries to one’s friends and children.”

My Rating: 5 stars

Buy it now:

Author Biography:

Many dream about upping sticks and leaving the humdrum of urban living for a new life of blue skies, warm sun and sparking seas – so for Anthony and Ivana Stancomb, moving from Fulham to the island of Vis, the remotest island off the coast of Croatia, was an easy enough decision. However, fitting in with not the friendliest of islands, was one of the hardest things they’d ever had to do, and it took time to win over their new community.

Under a Croatian Sun takes the reader on a journey to a bizarre, ramshackle village by the water – a place defined by its colourful and often tragic history, its unique café culture, its fishing tradition and its potent wine.

It traces their transformation from foreigners to islanders against a backdrop of feuding families, fearsome grandmothers, star-cross’d lovers, mafia-run night clubs, and the establishment of an island cricket team. A warming and amusing account of how home can be wherever you make it.

Social Media Links:

Reviewed by: Mrs. N

bottom of page