TWO ON THE ISLE: A Memoir of Marina Cay by Robb White

TWO ON THE ISLE: A Memoir of Marina Cay

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1937, the Depression's depth, budding writer White and his bride Rodie are living on love in bug-ridden Sea Cow Bay in the British Virgin Islands. Their marriage and Robb's career are into heavy weather when the couple discover a tiny deserted bug-free island, Marina Cay, which they promptly buy from Great Britain for $60. Perhaps they can regain control of their lives. At 22, after graduating from Annapolis, White had resigned his ensign rank to become a writer. Saving their clothes for other occasions, the gonative Whites build the Shed, their house, and live off the sea while Robb writes. No mortgage, insurance, taxes, utilities, phone bills, laundry or dry cleaning--""no heating or cooling expenses, no neighbors to keep up with, and the food was almost free."" Robb sells a few stories and wins a children's book first prize (the book is illustrated by young Andrew Wyeth), so they build a one-big-room house of poured concrete with hurricane-proof roof. Robb collects local color about pirates and Quakers, puts up with his over-civilized mother-in-law's loony visit. After three years they are visited by a boat load of Jews who have been lost at sea for 72 days; later they are invaded by a yacht full of uniformed Nazis bent on raping Rodie. Just as the Whites' children begin arriving, so does the war; he's back in the Navy for seven years; the marriage busts up. To-day, rodie lives on her family's Georgia plantation. Robb, after a defeating tour as a Hollywood scriptwriter, lives in ""a sparsely inhabited forest near Santa Barbara."" Bittersweet fun, laced with jolly pidgen from silver-tongued natives.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1985
Publisher: Norton