New Book on Melanesia- “The Darklands”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my new book, The Darklands: A Melanesian Experience, will be published this week by Publish Authority. The book is slated to be available on March 15.

You can also find access to the book by clicking here, which will take you to my Website.

It’s the perfect addition to your Pacific Islands collection!

Here’s a summary:

When the French writer and poet, Andre Breton observed odd sculptures for thefirst time from Melanesia he wrote, “You frighten. You amaze.” The five Melanesian islands of Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu were places that were not supposed to be discovered. Explorers feared them. Missionaries were murdered on them. Colonists struggled to govern them. Today, the indigenous people on these culturally rich islands desperately want to hold onto their traditional practices that often clash with Western ways of thinking and values.

The Darklands acutely examines the mysterious and unique cultural practices of the Melanesian islands.The book delves into legends, supernatural beings, and haunting places, and explores the dark realms of the region. The book is divided into ten chapters. Chapter 1 shares the history of Melanesia when Captain Cook arrives on the shores of some of the region’s islands in the late 1700s. Chapter 2 inspects the use of kastom, or customary practices, particularly in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and how it is still important in the islanders’ lives today. Chapter 3 reviews how World War Two interrupted the lives of the islanders and how it planted the seeds of self-government. Chapter 4 examines the struggles that the missionaries endured trying to gain a foothold throughout Melanesia and how their resolve is seen today with such a high percentage of church-going people. Chapter 5 probes the ritual and significance of cannibalism until colonial governments and missionaries put an end to the practice. Chapter 6 investigates the use of sorcery throughout the region and how it is still a problem particularly in Papua New Guinea today. Chapter 7 scrutinizes superstitions throughout the region especially the belief in ghosts. Chapter 8 considers how parts of Melanesia have currently become Dark Tourist destinations visited by hundreds of tourists each year. Chapter 9 reviews the various Cargo Cults that sprung throughout the region after World War Two. Chapter 10 ties the previous chapter together by studying famous literary writers and how they have helped create and inspire the “Melanesian Way” and the current-day fight to re-establish certain traditional customs.

Written during the Covid-19 pandemic quarantine, the book shares insights on how the world changed from the West to the Melanesian islands. Its underlining story shows how the “Melanesian Way of Life” has been compromised by colonial governments, missionaries, and Europeans desire to exploit the islands, and the Melanesian people’s struggle to regain some of their traditional beliefs and customs. Interwoven throughout the book are some of the author’s adventures while serving as a volunteer archivist throughout the region over the past twelve years. The Darklands also utilizes experiences and observations from acclaimed literary authors who have brought the people and the culture of the Melanesia islands to life particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Although the customs and the practiced traditions throughout the region are quite profound, the book makes an effort to uncover the rituals and customs that frighten and those that amaze.

Enjoy the good read!


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