First published in 2001. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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(234mm x 156mm x 15mm)
Publisher: Kegan Paul
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
In 1907 Jack London, by then a successful writer and literary celebrity, set off with his second wife Charmian on what was to be a seven-year voyage around the world. The schooner 'Snark' was specially built at an ever-spiralling cost to carry them, but by the time the ship had made the comparatively short crossing from San Francisco to Hawaii the engine had failed and the whole ship was in need of some repair. These repairs took five months, during which time the Londons lived on the islands, exploring the nature and culture. These seven short stories, written in 1916 and first published posthumously in 1919, show the extraordinary ability that London had to absorb the essence of other cultures. The stories draw fully on the landscapes, tastes and colours of the islands, but London also manages to convey the mystic, exotic nature of the place, a curious combination of tribal pagan ritual and western capitalism. Each of the stories brings a particular element of this mix to the fore. 'On the Makaloa Mat' deals with the beginnings of Hawaii's advance toward agricultural and property development, while 'The Bones of Kahekili' and 'Shin Bones' recall the island's tribal history and sometimes savage past. 'When Alice Told Her Soul' and 'The Tears of Ah-Kim' reflect on the cultural mix and the implications of change as Hawaii grows toward economic importance. 'The Water Baby' is an elegiac fable of fishing prowess, underlining London's admiration for sea-faring men, and 'The Kanaka Surf' sets an eternal triangle plot against the backdrop of majestic seascapes and legendary Hawaiian waves. Jack London never made it round the world; ill-health and continuing problems with the Snark put paid to his dream after two years. But on the evidence of these stories, his time in Hawaii was not wasted. (Kirkus UK)
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