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They Who Do Not Grieve Paperback – November 2, 2003
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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Top Customer Reviews
Excellently written, these stories are gems not only of Polynesian or ethnographic writing, but of Literature with a capial "L".
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.Read more ›