When reading To the Highlands, Josef Conrad’s Heart of Darkness comes to mind, and of course, as you state in your own acknowledgements, so does Randolph Stow’s To the Islands. Can you comment on the influence or connection these works have with your own?
This was a book I never thought to write and probably never wanted to write. I seemed sure my next book would cover this stage of my early life in a cursory manner and I would not have to explore it in any detail. But on reflection I realised I could not escape the plunge into what were the two darkest years of my first 30 – 1968 and 1969. Before I stuck my head down for the final plunge I re-read Heart of Darkness and To the Islands. They gave me courage and made it clear to me that none of us in that mixed-race island group were Conrad’s Kurtz, the lost mad soul up the Congo, or Stow’s Heriot, the lost and wandering missionary. Some of us, however, were a mix, certainly one with a bit more Kurtz and others with a bit more Heriot.