Fiji and New Caledonia


A lot of the books from Fiji focused on racial tensions between the tiny white European-descended minority, the large minority of Indo-Fijians descended from Indian indentured servants hoodwinked into sailing to Fiji and laboring for the English in the 19th century, and the iTaukei, the indigenous Fijian majority. Most of the books I read were middling to fair, though Diaspora and the Difficult Art of Dying is a lovely collection of poetry, and Moving Through the Streets is genuinely awful.

  1. Diaspora and the Difficult Art of Dying, Sudesh Mishra, 2002
  2. Tales of the Tikongs, Epeli Hau’ofa, 1994
  3. Last Virgin in Paradise, Vilsoni Hereniko, 1993
  4. Lali: A Pacific Anthology, Albert Wendt, 1980
  5. The Wounded Sea, Satendra Nandan, 1991
  6. Kava in the Blood, Peter Thomson, 1999
  7. Moving Through the Streets, Joseph Veramo, 1994
  • Oceanic Mythology, Roland Dixon, 1916 (Melanesia section) (not read)
  • Veiled Honour, Satya Colpani, 2001 (this wasn’t really on the list, but I added it at the last minute because I wanted at least one female author from Fiji. But then I couldn’t find a copy for less than $25, and the bits I read on google books didn’t convince me that I would enjoy it enough to make it worth spending that much money on it)

New Caledonia

I was delighted by both Les Contes de Poindi, a charming and elegant fairy tale about birds and eels and pre-colonization Kanak warriors (as told by the son of a transported Corsican felon who was born and raised on New Caledonia and apparently based his work on bedtime stories told to him by his Kanak nurse) and the angry and insightful stories of The Kanak Apple Season, which focused (like so many of the South Pacific works I’ve read so far) on the dispossession of the country’s indigenous people and their fight to gain their independence and adapt to their rapidly changing way of life. Nights of Storytelling reinforces Gorodé’s stories with a survey of New Caledonian literature from Captain Cook to Gorodé herself. The other two works (a play by Pierre Gope and a comic by Bernard Berger) did not seem likely to provide me with enough enjoyment to justify the difficulty of sourcing them, so I skipped them.

  1. Les Contes de Poindi, Jean Mariotti, 1947 (replacement for Tout est peut-être inutile)
  2. The Kanak Apple Season, Déwé Gorodé, 2005
  3. Nights of Storytelling, Raylene L. Ramsay, 2011
  • On refait pas l’histoire, Bernard Berger, 2012
  • Où est le droit?, Pierre Gope, 2003 (could not source)

11 thoughts on “Fiji and New Caledonia

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