Books about Pacific Islands

The past few weeks has seen a few books written by authors around the Pacific that I would like share.  

Tonga:

The first piece of literature is an entertaining new book of “historical fiction” was launched a couple of days ago by Sam Lala, a Fijian writer and adventurer who has been living in Tonga for many years. The 183 pages volume, titled “They Said”, is the second book written by Sam, and launched with his wife Soana ‘Aloua-Lala. Their daughter Sera Lala is depicted on the cover.

While Sam writes in English about everyday life, his book is not confined to the Pacific and covers an eclectic range of subjects. He writes about encounters that change one’s way of thinking, sometimes those enduring historical stereotypes that have not caught up with the passage of time. 

Sam defined the title, “They Said” as a statement in time. “It meant something then, reflected and referred to, in comparing with things of the present…”

Other chapters in “They Said” include:

  • The Human Brain is So Small
  • I saw Indians Come on Board
  • Christianity is Not for Fijians
  • Signatures of the Heart
  • The Sixth Sense
  • You burn the leaf on your lips.

Sam published his first book in Tonga, Sandalwood Blood in 2014. He has researched his material for writing while working in Tonga, Australia and Fiji. Intrigued by the way legendary stories have been kept and retold, Sam has developed his own way of telling his.

The book was published by the Pacific Studies Press and launched at the Television Tonga Studio, in Nuku’alofa.

Guam

In the past year, Julian Aguon kept busy writing prose, essays and vignettes, but all along he was creating a larger project, one about a young man coming of age on Guam, spanning his life, taking place on Guam and abroad. 

That novel, “The Properties of Perpetual Light,” is available for pre-order on the University of Guam Press website. For Aguon, it constitutes a personal literary event, a story looking inward. His previous books, he said, championed social causes that were “outward.”

“There’s eulogies, commencement addresses, statements of solidarity given to fellow activists in the countries, as well as prose poems and vignettes,” Aguon said. “Collectively, they’re almost like an homage to the work of the writer activist.”

United States

The book, “Mr. Moonlight of the South Seas,” has been republished by Publish Authority

Mr. Moonlight of the South Seas is a biography style non-fiction book that captures the adventurous life of American author Robert Dean Frisbie who lived in the South Seas from 1920 to his death in 1948. Although he is part of a long line of South Seas writers that began with the likes of Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson, Frisbie did what very few of these writers did- he stayed in the Pacific for the rest of his life. He first arrived in Tahiti, French Polynesia, where he met his long-time friend and author, James Norman Hall and the two remain friends for the rest of their lives. After about four years in Tahiti, Frisbie left for the tiny atoll of Pukapuka, Cook Islands, where he hoped that the isolated island would suit his needs to become a great writer. As the only white man on the island, Frisbie would marry, have children and live a life completely different from those of his American contemporaries. His writings would put Pukapuka on the map and his adventures would become the stuff of Pacific Islands’ lore.

You can find the book in paperback or digital format at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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