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Tales of the Tikongs


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About the Author

Epeli Hau'ofa (1939-2009) was born in Papua New Guinea and educated in Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, Australia, and Canada. He worked at the University of the South Pacific's main campus in Suva, Fiji, where he was the founder and director of the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture, established in 1997.


Hau'ofa (Kisses in the Nederends) serves up a delightfully fresh and funny collection of tales about his South Pacific homeland. In this first book of stories, he wryly describes daily life on the tiny isle of Tiko where ``truth is flexible and can be bent this way so and that way so.'' The book contains comic, well-developed characters like Ti Pilo Simini (in ``The Wages of Sin''), a ``weedy little man . . . who may be seen with two or even three cigarettes stuck between his lips,'' but Hau'ofa's talent is most evident in his satires of human frailties. In ``Blessed Are the Meek,'' Puku Leka receives ``excellent training in bowing and bending and crawling'' from his family in preparation for a farmer's life. Hau'ofa also skillfully parodies the ``development'' of underdeveloped countries. In ``The Seventh and Other Days,'' an Australian ``Overseas Expert'' named Dolittle is hired to ``look into the feasibility of making Tikongs work on weekdays'' but despairs after speaking with a VIP who fritters away the office hours playing cards with his secretary. (June)

Epeli Hau'ofa takes his place alongside such writers as R. K. Narayan, early V. S. Naipaul and early Robertson Davies as an amused observer of . . . colonialism and newly independent nations.-- "Zealandia"
A South Pacific Under Milk Wood: tragicomic sketches of an unashamedly miniscule community, portraying the manifold eccentricities and weaknesses of the inhabitants through a mixture of affection, mockery, satire and ribaldry.-- "Landfall Magazine"

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