Marlene Hauser – Off Island


A powerful coming-of-age story unlike any other, sensitively dealing with the often-ignored emotional trauma of abortion and its subsequent healing.

Krista Bourne has led a privileged life. Surrounded by the love, strength and wealth of her family, she has never had to make her own decisions. Until now…

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When Krista impulsively walks out on her career as a professional dancer, it is the beginning of a new chapter in her life. She feels unsettled and excited by the sense of imminent change around her.

This feeling turns to panic, then fear, when she realises that she is pregnant and is uncertain whether or not she wants to keep the baby, bringing her and her partner Michael to a crossroads in their relationship and isolating herself at a time when she most needs help.

Krista is about to learn that running away from the consequences of her decisions and shutting out the world and those she loves is not the answer. That before she can heal, she must first learn to forgive herself…

“Very moving story so beautifully written about making difficult life changing decisions, poignantly and compellingly addresses un-spoken issues that young girls sometimes face…” – Amazon Reader

“Helen Bourne also claimed, whenever the conversation came around to birth, particularly Krista’s, that she had wanted an abortion. She had not wanted to marry, not Charles Bourne, not anyone. If abortions had been legal then, she often told her daughter, if she had had the wherewithal to seek out an abortionist, she would have suffered anything. Instead, she married and had the child, her only one.”

As the story progresses, we learn of Krista’s struggle to accept her father’s death and, facing her own unexpected pregnancy, how she comes to terms with a difficult decision: “Krista wept. She sat on the hearth, and for the first time had a clear sense of her power to create and destroy. She felt inadequate and afraid.”

Originally entitle ‘Krystal’, Off Island was written back in 1982 when the world was a very different place. Publishing houses passed on Marlene’s manuscript time and time again, culminating in one final rejection letter. At the time this letter dashed Marlene’s hopes of a literary career and it would be many years before she realised that the main reason given by the publisher amounted to nothing short of censorship;

“As you know, an important factor in the decision against KRYSTAL was the question of audience. KRYSTAL couldn’t be marketed as a feminist novel because it is likely to be perceived (note that I’m saying perceived, not is) as anti-abortion. It’s kind of like PMS: there’s a strong impulse to deny its existence because it could be used as a weapon against women. So could this frank admission that abortion can be emotionally painful…”

“Marlene Hauser writes with a passionate and strong style that really gives women’s issues and emotions a voice. This story may be set in the eighties but it resonates with choices women still face making today.” – Miss S L Speight


Review Copies of Off-Island and interviews with the writer are available on request.
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Off-Island is available in paperback, e-book and as an audiobook (narrated by Rosie Akerman from ‘Call the Midwife’).
Order Off-Island from: Amazon, Google Play, Troubador, Kobo and iTunes.

Price: £7.99 (Paperback); £0.99 (Kindle Edition) 
Pages: 177
ISBN: 978 1789014 495
Publisher: Troubador Publishing (2017)

“Off-Island… packs the most enormous punch. The quality of Marlene Hauser’s writing is so sophisticated… At times, I found it an uncomfortable read, but I also found it fascinating, thought-provoking, compelling and beautifully written. I think Off-Island by Marlene Hauser is a very important book.” – Linda Hill, Linda’s Book Bag

About the Author

“I offer Off-Island to you in the spirit in which it was written: as my attempt to capture one young woman’s coming of age. First and foremost, it is about having the right to choose. The book will take you from New York City to Martha’s Vineyard and back again, where a privileged young woman, hoping to escape her pain in self-imposed isolation, discovers that her family history isn’t quite what she’d imagined. I hope you enjoy reading Off-Island as much as I enjoyed writing it and finally bringing it to publication.”

Marlene Hauser is a professional writer based in Oxford, UK, where she lives with her husband and teenage son. She has edited The Writer’s New York City Source Book and served as Associate Producer on Under the Influence, a CBS TV movie. She also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and has received numerous awards, including a residency at the Millay Arts Colony in Upstate New York.

A member of the Society of Authors, Marlene is also an avid blogger. Read more from her at www.marlenehauser.com

 “This isn’t an easy read as it deals with some emotive issues… This is a story of taking responsibility for yourself, making your own decisions and acknowledging that sometimes you’ll make mistakes and need to forgive yourself and others.” – Splashes into Books