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Island of Shattered Dreams Paperback – January 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Huia Pub.; 1 edition (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1869692993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1869692995
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,392,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
I first read this book in French and was delighted to find that it translated very lyrically into English.
Trevor Coote
Nevertheless, all actions in the book, whether good or bad, are ultimately tied to passion and love, whether it be a love for resources or for one’s children.
Eric Sung
So this novel brings in a lot of aspects that people can relate to across the globe, but it is also very specific to Tahiti.
Melissa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Coote on January 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I first read this book in French and was delighted to find that it translated very lyrically into English. Island of Shattered Dreams is always billed as the first novel by an indigenous Ma'ohi writer in French Polynesia. Given that it was written only in 1991 this is ample evidence that fictional literature is a very recent genre among the country's indigenous population. But this is a most accomplished beginning which, not surprisingly, has become the benchmark for Ma'ohi authors since then, and has spurned a new wave of local writing about the reality of life for Polynesians on the Territory. Much of this writing is by women.
Maevarua and Teuira Tetanui and their children lead an idyllic life on their tranquil Pacific Island as have many generations before them. But when a French soldier arrives in their village to speak to the islanders of an emergency everything changes. The `motherland' was under serious threat from Germany and was calling on its sons to come and fight. Many young men of the island, not understanding where the motherland - or Germany - was, nevertheless saw an opportunity to travel and see the world, much to the distress of their families. Most did not return. However, Tematua, son of Maevarua and Teuira did come back safely but was never to talk about his experiences during the War. On his return he falls in love with the beautiful Emere, daughter of an English father and Ma'ohi mother, and it is their (slightly idealised - all of them are beautiful and brilliant) life together and those of their children, Terii, Eritapeta and Tetiare, that forms the foundation of the book. Then, twenty years on, the second bombshell (literally) is announced: that their land was to be requisitioned by the state for nuclear testing on the grounds of state security and defence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Sung on December 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
Chantal Spitz brilliantly connects the multi-generational story of one family with the larger narrative of French-occupied Polynesia. The rips and pulls that wrack the family—in the form of interracial relations, foreign influence and education, the rejection of tradition—serve as a lens to the wider problems that their country faces, such as the burgeoning demographic of half-bloods, imported militarization and academic systems, and the gradual forcing out of culture and language by the encroaching French government. Spitz’s ability to balance the story of a family with that of a nation, without one narrative crowding out or hammering down on the other, is seamless and extremely commendable.
To preface, this book is not a one-sided attack on colonialism but a passionate and complicated story that involves the desires, ambitions, and personalities of individual lives. A one-sided attack would have erased the individuality of these characters, both indigenous and French. At one point, the grandmother of one of the young characters tells her that these supposedly devilish colonizers actually don’t do it on purpose, but simply act without thinking. Several indigenous Polynesians, or Ma’ohi, are implicated as well throughout the story for their covetous desire for all things foreign and exotic or for their willing disremembering of the past. Nevertheless, all actions in the book, whether good or bad, are ultimately tied to passion and love, whether it be a love for resources or for one’s children. Though originally written in French, this book’s style and tone is distinctly Ma’ohi, with its long-flowing lines and caressing balladry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kawailani on December 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
This review is for PAC371 University of Hawai'i Manoa
Island of Shatter Dreams is written by the first Tahitian writer Chantel Spitz it is a fascinating novel which brings urgent awareness to the challenges most Pacific Islanders are tasked with when colonization comes too swiftly interrupting a once pristine tropical island of free spirited people. The papa'a (white men) have arrived with grand stories and promises but it is not the Ma'ohi (Tahitian) who will enjoy the bulk of benefits instead their culture will be dissected and the ecosystem destroyed. Young men, Ma'ohi go to a war for the French for a war that is not theirs. Years, later a missile base will be built, radiation, bombing and nuclear toxin pollute the land and mysterious deaths emerge. Generations of complex love and lustful unforbidden love, mixed races, half-bloods, social issues and cross culture create a multifaceted collection of events. Most of the half-bloods favor their papa'a heritage and are influenced by the materialistic lifestyle and conveniences. Few of the half-bloods remain loyal with a surreal spiritual kinship and love for their Ma'ohi culture, attempting to breathe life into an endangered culture that refuses to fade away. Most of the younger generation half-bloods are caught up with fast cars and technology oblivious to their Ma'ohi roots. For some Ma'ohi they find comfort and a strong connection to the land, without land they are like lost souls, empty and stuck in a world they want nothing of. The younger generation are educated some earning degrees and finding a strong voice and positions in government. Colonization remains and Ma'ohi culture cannot be quieted. A powerful, exciting, painful, lovely and thought provoking novel!
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