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On The Makaloa Mat

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1419138768
ISBN-10: 1419138766
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack London (1876 1916) was a prolific American novelist and short story writer. His most notable works include "White Fang", "The Call of the Wild", and "The Sea-Wolf." He was born in San Francisco, California.
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC (June 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419138766
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419138768
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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By Karl Janssen on May 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
On the Makaloa Mat is a collection of seven short stories by Jack London, all of which are set in Hawaii. The book was published posthumously in 1919, and contains some of the last stories he wrote before his death. They are all tales of love, family, or friendship, told against the background of Hawaiian history, customs, and lore. Often they focus on the interaction between two dichotomous characters--one representing the old, authentic ways of Hawaiian life; the other representing the new, modern Hawaii under the "civilizing" influence of white colonization. London compares and contrasts these two sides of island life without playing favorites.

The best story in the book is "Shin-Bones," in which a modern, Oxford-educated Hawaiian prince recalls a life-changing adventure from his youth. To satisfy his superstitious mother's obsession with bone collecting, he accompanied an aged servant on a perilous quest to recover the hidden remains of his ancestors. In a story of similar subject matter, "The Bones of Kahekili," a wealthy, white rancher persuades his elderly servant to reveal the whereabouts of the remains of an old Hawaiian chieftain and the mysterious events surrounding his burial. "The Tears of Ah Kim" tells the story of a Chinese grocer in Honolulu who incurs the wrath of his aged mother when he reveals his intention to marry a young widow. Mother feels the bride-to-be is too modern, too liberal, and too westernized for her son. In "The Water Baby," an educated young Hawaiian man is treated to a folk tale while he accompanies a poor, elderly fisherman on a squid hunt. "The Kanaka Surf," about a love triangle in Waikiki, is easily the worst story in the book. Modern romance was never London's strong suit.
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like many of us, I grew up on Jack London's animal stories- "White Fang", "The Call of the Wild" etc. I didn't know until all these years later that he had such a huge, juicy, wonderful body of work. That he was in fact a Master of the short story. This book was so terrific, it's hard to believe it was *free*. Highly recommended.
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Being a long time resident of Hawaii I found these stories interesting and enjoyable. Especially the last one in the book. Having seen old photos of Hawaii it was easy to visual where the stories took place. So many changes since this book was written.
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