Posted by mukikamu on September 24, 2009
We have met him before and now I tumbled upon his book about Papua New Guinea, Bali and the Solomon islands. My admiration for his clear, matter-of- fact style and readable anthropological analysis has not diminished. He seemed to truly enjoy his trip to these remote places and offers a genuinely enjoyable literary experience. And then there are his amazing pictures that illustrate it all. All from 1932-33.
Additions to the list of groovy names:
Kafagamurirongo – wife of expat German sailor and tribe chief on Owa Raha island
Mamako – village on Owa Riki island
Maneparapara – village
Kafafarisubarisu -ghostgod of Owa Raha island
Kaukaunafugo – good spirits of the forest
Nafumanga -village chief on Owa Riki
Funakuma – village on southeast St. Cristobal island
Kokonga – village on Choiseul island
Bulolo – village on New Guinea
Mamarana -village on Choiseul island
Kufagogo – village on New Guinea where widows carry the skull of their husbands around their necks. All the time.
Agaga – English speaking warrior the author met
Hanubada – village on New Guinea
Posted in AUSTRALIA & THE PACIFIC, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mukikamu on December 6, 2007
Here I am, stepping into something huge again. Paul Theroux is one of the most popular travel writers of our times and I am fully aware that it will take me years to eat myself through his literature. He has several essential travel volumes to choose from and hereby I officially promise to report on The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express A.S.A.P..
The volume I read this time was The Happy Isles of Oceania and to be perfectly honest, after the poetic and respectful admiration towards locals of Thesiger, the superior realism of Theroux came as a bucket of icy water to my face. While Thesiger emphasizes his travels’ substantiality and nobleness, Theroux is shamelessly critical. He calls himself a ‘natural skeptic’ but sometimes I felt he was directly rude. He is not the type to rave about his destinations and I definitely wasn’t encouraged to start planning a trip right away. After getting over this initial culture shock however, I found his book informative, drawing an up-to-date picture of the far-away and exotic islands I just dream about. It is a very personal book too, written when times were tough, which explains his bitterness of style, but I am still flabbergasted how miserably unhappy you can be in paradise. The most enjoyable passages for me were the ones where he is quietly paddling his collapsible kayak alone and his rage and anger gives way to peace in his heart. Envy filled my heart.
I really must read another book of his to get a real picture. However spoilt, ungrateful, unsatisfied and grumpy he seems, he is a brilliant observer and a great traveler.
Posted in Australia, AUSTRALIA & THE PACIFIC, Books, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Fiji islands, Hawaii, Marquesas, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Travelers, Trobriands, Vanatu, Vava'u | Tagged: Australia, Bengt Danielson, book, Cook, Easter Island, Gaugin, Marquesas, Mellville, New Zealand, Oceania, Samoa, Solomons, Tahiti, Theroux, Thesiger, Thor Heyerdahl, Tonga, traveler, Trobriands, Vanatu, Vava'u | 1 Comment »