About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sons for the Return Home by Albert Wendt

Sons for the Return Home is a classic of Pacific Island literature.Written by Albert Wendt and first published in 1973 it follows the coming of age of a young Samoan man studying in New Zealand. Essentially it is a love story (which as I've mentioned before isn't my favourite genre) but this book has such power and quirkiness to it that it has a lot more to offer the reader than a mere romantic romp.

Sons for the Return Home
(this ed. Penguin, 1987)
   I first read it over ten years ago and the intensity of the writing has stuck with me so that I remember some scenes as vividly as if I'd read them yesterday. Wendt has a sparse sensuous style that races you through the story with a minimum of effort but the emotions he depicts are raw.
   The Samoan youth (who is never named) begins a relationship with a rich white girl (who is also never named).  Pakeha/islander relantionships are laid bare with racist undertones. Misunderstandings are rife. Lust and longing pervades the whole book and there are many varied sexual encounters. However Wendt writes with such skill that they don't read as pornography. The family expectations on the youth and cultural change are also major themes of the book.
   Sons for the Return Home is on the PSSC list and I recommend it highly not just because it's a great story about an islander but for the wonderful quality of the prose.

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