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They Who Do Not Grieve Paperback – November 2, 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Powerful and exhilarating" The Times "Poetic, energetic, swirling with wild sweeps of feeling, this is powerful and uninhibited writing which unleashes a world dense with ghosts, taboos, deceptions and violence-Bracing and exhilarating" The Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Reminiscent of Kerii Hulme's The Bone People, this fictional Coming of Age in Samoa, weaves together the voices of three generations of Samoan women from two families, juxtaposing the traditional and the modern, storytelling and real life, the familiar and the strange, the hilarious and the grotesque. Their dream worlds and realities intermingle, just as the histories of each generation run through the next. At the centre of the novel is the Samoan woman's tattoo, the malu, believed to be brought from Fiji by Siamese twins in one of the founding myths of Samoa. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Kaya/Muae (November 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885030339
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885030337
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tiarra A. Maznick on May 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
I fell in love with this book. Figiel touches on so many topics and weaves them together incredibly. First and foremost she describes the shame associated with unfinished tattoos in more than words, but in lived situations, and in a way that is much more comprehensable than simply saying "shame." She touches on how the Pacific has been used as this "exotic ideal" and how we too face problems and struggles. Not only Pacific islands, but the women themselves are this exotic ideal. She portrays the beauty of Samoan women, and sometimes the curses associated with being beautiful. Certain chapters take place in New Zealand, and she also describes some of the struggles of being a foreigner, a Samoan in a foriegn country. I especially liked how she described the "community" dynamic, in which Samoans, try to live simultaneously for themselves, but yet have a large more communal role to play in society. She dives into sexuality and the role of Samoan women as well, with great depth. The way she weaves these aspects together is beautiful. I highly recommend this book.

~T. Solo
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Format: Paperback
Sia Figel has once again done an outstanding job capturing the specifics of life in the transitioning cultures of Samoa in a way that is both artistic and illustrative. In doing so she has captured elements of the unversal that offer a message beyond the exotic South Pacific location into the challenges faced by families in modern life.

Excellently written, these stories are gems not only of Polynesian or ethnographic writing, but of Literature with a capial "L".

Fiame
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Format: Paperback
Sia Figiel is described as the first contemporary woman novelist from Samoa; so I wondered whether her unusual style (repetitive, staccato, verbless sentences, even paragraphs, sometime just a word or two long) reflects something of the way Samoans speak. But she uses that style not only in chapters where the narrator is Malu, a young Samoan girl, but also where the narrator is her employer, Mrs Winterson, a sad, bored, anorexic American expatriate woman.

The title of the book is ambiguous. The women in the story certainly grieve; but they stoically accept and, for one reason or another, they never grieve aloud. Malu hardly ever speaks anyway. Malu's mother had died soon after Malu's birth. She is brought up by a vicious, violent and foul-mouthed grandmother, Lalolagi, who had violent feelings about Mary as she had about Malu. But Lalolagi also, we eventually discover, also bore a profound grief. Then there is Malu's aunt Ela, living unhappily with an abusive American and rejected by everyone in the village, who also grieves both when he beats her up and when he is drowned. The American is one of the several palagi - foreigners - in the novel who look down on or oppress Samoans.)

One thing is clear: Sia Figiel has no truck with Margaret Mead's idyllic picture of Samoan society in which there is no conflict and everyone is happy. In one place (in a generalization I find it hard to accept though it is certainly true of the families that are the subject of this novel) one of her character says that it was common practice in Samoa for the only words spoken by mothers to daughters were "commands, accusations, curses," so the daughters retreat into an impenetrable shell in which they fantasize or have surrealistic dreams all mixed up with Samoan legends.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this for my Niece who is afatasi and really wants to know about her Samoan Heritage. I don't believe this book will provide her with a full insight of our culture, but am trying to encourage her to read the new age literature erupting from the promising next generation Authors of Samoa!
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