Fiji

Fiji
Kalyana by Rajni Mala Khelawan

Kalyana by Rajni Mala Khelawan

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Growing up in the Fiji Islands in the late 1960s, Kalyana Mani Seth is an impressionable, plump young girl suited to the meaning of her name: blissful, blessed, the auspicious one. Her mother educates Kalyana about her Indian heritage, vividly telling tales of mischievous Krishna and powerful Mother Kali, and recounting her grandparents’ migration to the tiny, British colony.

While the island nation celebrates its recently granted independence, new stories of the feminist revolution in America are carried over the waves of the Pacific to Kalyana’s ears: stories of women who live with men who are not their husbands, who burn their bras, who are free to do as they please. Strange as all this sounds, Kalyana hopes that she will be blessed with a husband who allows her a similar sense of liberty.

But nothing prepares her for the trauma of womanhood and the cultural ramifications of silence and shame, as her mother tells her there are some family stories that should never be told.


Maya by Jostein Gaarder, James Anderson (Translator)

Maya by Jostein Gaarder, James Anderson (Translator)

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A chance meeting on the Fijian island of Taveuni is the trigger for a fascinating and mysterious novel that intertwines the stories of John Spooke, an English author who is grieving for his dead wife; Frank Andersen, a Norwegian evolutionary biologist estranged from his wife Vera; and an enigmatic Spanish couple, Ana and Jose, who are absorbed in their love for each other. Why does Ana bear such a close resemblance to the model for Goya's famous Maja paintings? What is the significance of the Joker as he steps out of his pack of cards? As the action moves from Fiji to Spain, from the present to the past, unfolding further stories within the stories, the novel reveals an astonishing richness and complexity.


The Sailmaker's Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Johnson

The Sailmaker's Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Johnson

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It is 1918 and Spanish Flu is epidemic in Suva, the capital of Fiji. Twelve year old Olive is sent with her brothers and grandmother to Taveuni to stay with her childless aunt and uncle on their sugar plantation to escape the disease as her mother lies dying of the flu in their family home. The months that follow hold magic and sorrow for Olive, as she uncovers well kept family secrets and grieves for her dying mother.

The Sailmaker's Daughter is dedicated to the memory of Stephanie Johnson's grandmother, who was born in Fiji in 1905. Like Olive in the book, her grandmother was one of a large family; her father was the sailmaker in Suva and her mother died of the Spanish Flu at the end of the Great War. The Sailmaker's Daughteris both a tribute to Stephanie Johnson's grandmother and a powerful evocation of a mystical paradise lived and lost.