New Pasefika Literature

Next year will mark the 40th anniversary since the puiblication of Albert Wendt‘s Sons for the return home and his name is now is now synonymous with Pasefika literature. The following is a list that covers the most recent examples of Pasefika literature in the library’s holdings. It is apt that the first two books are collections edited by Albert Wendt and the third is his most recent novel Vela.

Syndetics book coverWhetū moana : contemporary Polynesian poems in English / edited by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri & Robert Sullivan.
“‘Whetu Moana’ is the first anthology of contemporary indigenous Polynesian poetry to be written in English and edited by Polynesians. The collection includes many well-known poets, together with lesser known, young poets. The collection reveals an active, varied and creative scene which confronts both a complex colonial past and a contemporary global present.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMauri ola : contemporary Polynesian poems in English / edited by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan.
Mauri Ola is a fresh selection of poetry written over the last 25 years by writers and Polynesian poets scattered around the world. Many of the original Whetu Moana poets reappear – as well as the new voices of an exciting young generation. Energetic, courageous and vital, the poems in this anthology confront both a complex colonial past and a fast-moving global present, proving the creative energy and thriving well-being of Polynesian literature.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe adventures of Vela / Albert Wendt.
“Journey through the many stories and worlds of the immortal Vela – Vela, so red and ugly at birth they called him the Cooked; Vela the lonely admirer of pigs and the connoisseur of feet; Vela the lover of song maker Mulialofa the Boneman. Follow him down through the centuries on his travels, encountering the single-minded society of the Tagatanei and the Smellocracy of Olfact. Accompany him, too, as he recounts the stories of Lady Nafanua, the fearsome warrior queen, before whose powers Palagi priests and travelling chroniclers still bow down today.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe marriage proposal / Célestine Hitiura Vaite.
“Materena Mahi likes movies about love. And after fourteen years with Pito, the father of her three children, she wants a ring on her finger and a framed wedding certificate on the wall. Pito thinks that when you give a woman a ring and a wedding certificate she’s going to start acting like she’s the boss. “Eh,” he insists, “it’s the rope around the neck.”” “So when a drunken Pito finally proposes, Materena thinks she wouldn’t mind becoming a madame. Before long every relative is giving her advice and suddenly, she’s not even sure that she really wants that ring on her finger.” – (adapted from Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverIsland of shattered dreams / Chantal Spitz ; translated by Jean Anderson.
“Finally in English, Island of Shattered Dreams is the first ever novel by an indigenous Tahitian writer. In a lyrical and immensely moving style, this book combines a family saga and a doomed love story, set against the background of French Polynesia in the period leading up to the first nuclear tests. The text is highly critical of the French government, and as a result its publication in Tahiti was polarising.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBreadfruit : a novel / Ce͡lestine Vaite.
“When a drunken Pito proposes to Materena, she initially thinks it’s just the booze talking. As she nevertheless starts planning, she juggles everyday life only to have Pito act as though he’s forgotten his proposal.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe smell of the moon / Lemanatele M. Kneubuhl.
“This book isn’t Lord of the Rings, but it is a quest; and it’s not Roots, but it is a story about the difficult and joyous search for your origins; and it’s not Gilligan’s Island, but it is set on an island paradise. The Smell of the Moon celebrates a return to humanity, to family and community, to a place where your senses can live large … where you can smell the moon!” “In The Smell of the Moon American Samoan novelist Lemanatele M. Kneubuhl tests the sparkling waters of making bold life changes and he jumps into the deep end of the blue Pacific Ocean.” – (adapted from Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverFrangipani / Cʹelestine Hitiura Vaite.
“In Tahiti, some mothers say that daughters are a blessing, others say they are a curse. Materena, champion professional cleaner of the Mahi family and the best listener in all of Tahiti, is usually the one solving the problems. But right now she’s that close from throwing her daughter Leilani into the street. “It doesn’t matter what I do,” she confides to Mama Teta, to Cousin Rita, to Mama Loana and the Virgin Mary Understanding Woman, “it’s always the wrong thing. I’m going taravana!” And if that wasn’t enough, now there’s a boy on the horizon. Or so the relatives are saying…” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe mango’s kiss : a novel / by Albert Wendt.
“Love is never simple, though, and in this story of the struggles and passions of Pele and her family, it must adapt to the growing world that stretches out from village life in Samoa to the cities of Europe, America and New Zealand. And it must encompass the family’s links to the ancient gods of pre-missionary times and move through the turn of the nineteenth century, the First World War, the terrible Spanish Influenza Epidemic and beyond.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMeļaļ / Robert Barclay.
“On Good Friday, 1981, Rujen Keju and his two sons come face to face with their complicated inheritance-one that includes years of atomic testing and the continued military presence of the U.S. in the Pacific.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

They who do not grieve / Sia Figiel.
“Sia Figiel’s powerful, poetic skills weave together the voices of three generations from two families. Their dream worlds and realities intermingle, just as the histories of each genertation run through the next. At the centre of the novel is the Samoan women’s tattoo, the malu. The shame and grief of not completing the tattoo ceremony go hand in hand with the shame and grief of illicit love and broken promises.” – (adapted from Back cover)

Where we once belonged / by Sia Figiel.
“Fiction. A bestseller in New Zealand and winner of the prestigious Commonwealth Prize, Sia Figiel’s debut marks the first time a novel by a Samoan woman has been published in the United States. Figiel uses the traditional Samoan storytelling form of su’ifefiloi to talk back to Western anthropological studies on Samoan women and culture. Told in a series of linked episodes, this powerful and highly original narrative follows thirteen-year-old Alofa Filiga as she navigates the mores and restrictions of her village and comes to terms with her own search for identity. A story of Samoan PUBERTY BLUES, in which Gauguin is dead but Elvis lives on.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)