A bad dream leads to a strange poetic pilgrimage through Japan in this playful and profound Booker International-shortlisted novel. SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2019 AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER"A quirky, unpredictable and darkly comic confrontation with mortality." - Man Booker prize Jury "... Marion Poschmann, a multi-award-winning poet and novelist in her native Germany, now appears in English fully formed, translated by Jen Calleja, and has all the air of uncovered greatness. The Pine Islands is a story that doesn't tie up loose ends but leaves themes scattered as needles on the forest floor, allowing the reader to spot their patterns. The best approach to this beguiling, unpredictable book is to follow Gilbert's advice on reciting poetry: 'to let it affect you, and simply accept it in all its striking, irrational beauty.'" - John Self, The Guardian 'A masterpiece' - Die Zeit 'Clever, poetic, funny' - Tagesspiegel 'Profoundly serene' - Tageszeitung 'Ravishingly funny' - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Gilbert Silvester, eminent scholar of beard fashions in film, wakes up one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him. Certain the dream is a message, and unable to even look at her, he flees - immediately, irrationally, inexplicably - for Japan.In Tokyo he discovers the travel writings of the great Japanese poet Basho. Keen to cure his malaise, he decides to find solace in nature the way Basho did. Suddenly, from Gilbert's directionless crisis there emerges a purpose: a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the poet to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima. Although, of course, unlike the great poet, he will take a train.Along the way he falls into step with another pilgrim: Yosa, a young Japanese student clutching a copy of The Complete Manual of Suicide . Together, Gilbert and Yosa travel across Basho's disappearing Japan, one in search of his perfect ending and the other a new beginning.Serene, playful, and profound, The Pine Islands is a story of the transformations we seek and the ones we find along the way.