Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion is the novel that continues the adventures of Jim Hawkins, protagonist of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Stevenson’s book was originally published in 1883 and is considered a classic. It has influenced many authors, readers and adventure-seekers alike.
Jim Hawkins the son grew up in “an atmosphere stained by melancholy” after his mother’s death. His father used his proceeds from the treasure he found 30 years earlier to start an inn/tavern appropriately named The Hispaniola.
One day the enchanting Natalie, daughter of his father’s nemesis/friend Long John Silver, rows up to the inn asking young Jim to steal his father’s treasure map. Together they plan to retrieve the rest of the treasure their fathers left behind.
Long John Silver takes care of all the preparations, however being ill and blind he leaves Natalie (disguised as a boy named Nat) to represent his interests and Jim representing his father’s. Together with the crew they sail the Silver Nightingale to Treasure Island, only to find that the villains their fathers marooned are still alive and prospering with a wrecked slave ship.
Visiting the library one afternoon with my children, my eyes scanned upon the shelf where the librarians earnestly display their newly arrived acquisitions when they caught a glimpse of Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion. I could hardly believethe audacity, the gull, some might say the chutzpah, of attempting to recreate the magic I remember so fondly from my childhood. How dare he? Of course I had to pick it up.
A year ago I re-read Treasure Island and to my delight I enjoyed it tremendously. The magic and adventure were all there, even though some realizations hit me (the star of the story is the iconic Long John Silver, not Jim Hawkins) as well as other enlightenments, such as the ambiguous immoralities, which are lost on an eight-year-old, as I was when I first encountered the story.
While Treasure Island was a story for boys, about boys, Silver has a touch of romance. However, this is still a book about boys and Motion has kept it for boys but with an interest to girls as well.