First Published in 2001. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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(216mm x 138mm x 16mm)
Publisher: Kegan Paul
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
This wonderful collection of short stories invites the reader to visit the islands of Hawaii at the beginning of the last century. American author Jack London (1876-1916) is probably best known for his novels The Call of the Wild and White Fang, but he was a prolific writer not only of novels but of short stories, journalism and political essays, and a stay in Hawaii provided much material for his fertile imagination. In these stories London explores the cultures of the South Pacific and the effects of Western influence on the native population. One of the main themes is the devastating effect of leprosy on the native people. A dedicated socialist who often used his fiction to criticize society and its conventions, London broke a taboo when he began discussing this terrible illness. In 'Koolau the Leper', 'Goodbye Jack' and 'The Sheriff of Kona' the fate of the lepers is presented with horrible inevitability. However, it is not just the illness that is eating away at the natives, it is the clash of lifestyles, beliefs and cultures. Despite being a socialist, London also believed in individualism and capitalism, and he himself embodied the 'American Dream' as a poor boy who became a successful celebrity. Yet the success of Western enterprise clearly troubles him, because he cannot deny that this very success is destroying something precious. The resulting conflict of values is as troubling today as it was a century ago, and London's analysis is an important reminder that issues such as these are in no way a recent problem. (Kirkus UK)
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