Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii
- 01 Sep 2016
- 320 pages - 210 x 139 x 20mm
In Paradise of the Pacific, Susanna Moore, the award-winning author of In the Cut and The Life of Objects, pieces together the elusive, dramatic story of Hawai'i - a place of kings and queens, gods and goddesses, missionaries and explorers - a not-so-distant time of abrupt transition, in which an isolated pagan world of human sacrifice and strict taboo, without a currency or a written language, was confronted with the equally ritualised world of capitalism, Western education, and Christian values.
Long-listed for the 2015 National Book Award, the dramatic history of America's tropical paradise. The history of Hawai'i can be said to be the story of arrivals from the eruption of volcanoes on the ocean floor eighteen thousand feet below, the first hardy seeds that found their way to the Islands, and the confused birds blown from their migratory routes, to the early Polynesian adventurers who sailed across the Pacific in double canoes, the Spanish galleons en route to the Philippines, and the British navigators in search of a Northwest Passage, soon followed by pious Protestant missionaries, shipwrecked sailors, and rowdy Irish poachers escaped from Botany Bay - all wanderers washed ashore, sometimes by accident. This is true of many cultures, but in Hawai'i, no one seems to have left. And in Hawai'i, a set of myths accompanied each of these migrants. Their legends shape our understanding of this mysterious and staggeringly beautiful place.