‘Scar of the Bamboo Leaf’ by Sieni A.M.
This incredible story of love between a physically-flawed artist girl and a troubled, misunderstood boy is nothing short of – I dare to say – a masterpiece.
Right from the very first page, the novel grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. A few chapters later, it touches your heart and starts messing with your feelings. The next thing you know, you’re officially hooked. Lush Samoan settings; more than believable characters; well-written, well-paced, thoroughly engaging narrative; words that make you think. What more could you wish for? It is a stunning book. Complex, poignant, thought-provoking, deeply moving. Just beautiful.
‘We Are the Ocean’ by Epeli Hauʻofa
This is an exquisite collection of exquisite essays, public lectures, and poems, in which Epeli Hauʻofa shares his thoughts concerning Pasifika – the great sea of islands.
Written with passion and genuine love for Oceania, the publication can be regarded as unique – truly unique – teaching material. It informs and educates. It enlightens. It inspires. The author’s words, opinions, and ideas are of great significance and should definitely be pondered upon. What can I say, this book is a keeper!
‘Attitude 13: A Daughter of Guam’s Collection of Short Stories’ by Tanya Taimanglo
Tanya Taimanglo’s tales offer a rare and most fascinating glimpse into the lives of various Chamorro people, who try to reconcile their traditions and heritage with modernity.
Even if you read this book hundreds of times, you always discover something new: an inspirational passage, a conveyed between the lines message, a hidden meaning of the story. The narratives are a great reminder of those eternal truths we tend to forget. But, most importantly, they are also a sheer delight to read. Beautifully written, embellished with vivid imagery and a gentle sense of humour, they take you on a wonderful journey to the island of Guam. And – I should mention this – it’s a journey you don’t want to end.
‘Sons for the Return Home’ by Albert Wendt
This story of a cross-racial romance between a Samoan student at Auckland University and a girl from a wealthy pālagi family is one of the most important works in the history of Pacific Literature.
It is a cleverly constructed page-turner, which keeps you riveted from the very first to the very last sentence. Most likely, it is the result of Albert Wendt’s terse, unornamented writing style – thoroughly charming (oh yes, it is charming!) and totally unique. With this ‘shortness’, this lack of descriptive language the author gets right to the point, making the novel all the more powerful. One of the best reads ever; absolutely.
‘Tales of the South Pacific’ by James A. Michener
A Pulitzer Prize-winning book must be extraordinary. And this collection of interconnected stories about World War II certainly is.
Michener’s novel is an emotional roller-coaster ride; thrilling, quite nerve-racking, at times disturbing. And yet it makes you want to come back for more. The war-torn ‘paradise’, the complex characters, the South Seas atmosphere… Some say it’s a good book. I say it’s truly a literary classic. James Michener at his best.