The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores

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Reporter Diana Marcum first heard stories of the lush and abundant Azores Islands from immigrant farmers suffering through the severe Californian drought. Instantly, she knew she needed to visit this strange place where bulls ran in the streets and volcanoes rose from the sea.

Soon, she followed her new friends on their annual return journey to the islands, marveling at the steep green hills and sparkling water. There, she soaks up Azorean life, from world-famous cheeses and precious daily bread deliveries to raucous festas and the ever-present calls of equally raucous cagarro birds.

In short, vignette-like chapters, Marcum lets readers in on the secrets of this tucked-away paradise — and the story of how one faraway summer changed her life forever.

“José and Luisa were also enthusiastic guides.  They had a speedboat, and in the afternoons, as soon as José came back from his job as a television repairman and Luisa returned from her office job, we headed out on the ocean. Usually we went to what they called Parrot Cove.  José would cut the engines, and the boat became our diving board. We’d jump, feeling that whooshing moment that turns everyone into a seven-year-old. We would surface from the cold, salty water gasping and laughing and swim beneath the cliffs of a small islet. I always scanned the birds flying overhead for some of the namesake parrots. It was only when I looked at a map later that I understood they were saying pirate.”

Diana Marcum is an American author and journalist at The Los Angeles Times. In 2015, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her narrative reporting on how farmers were struggling with the Californian drought. The Tenth Island is her first book.

Published: 2018
Length: 252 pages
Main Setting: Azores Islands (mainly Terceira), Portugal
Secondary Setting:
California, United States