Andrew Motion has been signed up to write a follow-up to Treasure Island.
The Grauniad points out that ‘The poet is not the first author to write a continuation of a classic children’s title’; actually he’s not even the first author to write a sequel to Treasure Island. The first one was H. A. Calahan who wrote Back to Treasure Island in 1935 and the most recent is John Drake’s prequel, written as long ago as… er… 2008. Wikipedia lists nine prequel/sequels. Hardly an original idea, then. (Of the list given by Wikipedia, the only one I’ve ever read is Bjorn Larsson’s Long John Silver (1999) which I seem the remember enjoying, but other than that I can’t remember a thing about it.) The really interesting thing would be to do a proper update, where Treasure Island is now a holiday island, Long John Silver’s descendants are DJs working the clubs and only the parrot is still alive to remember the truth…
The difficulty in these things is to do something genuinely original. Here are a few which I think have worked:
- Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, which is a follow-up to Jane Eyre and tells the story of the first Mrs Rochester.
- Michael Chabon’s The Final Solution, where Sherlock Holmes investigates the background of a Jewish refugee in World War 2. (Sherlock Holmes has a huge corpus of unofficial sequels and the other ones I’ve read have all been a bit pants.)
- Gregory MacGuire’s Wicked. The book is very different to the musical but I enjoyed both.
Clearly, however, these things are newsworthy, so maybe I should cash in. Look out for my series of George Orwell prequels, Animal Smallholding and 1983.