Fiji: A Novel

Fiji: A Novel - Lance Morcan, James Morcan This book was a real struggle for me. It is entirely my own fault. First of all I “purchased” a free kindle book and then I insisted that once I started it I would finish it. So I am a cheapo, I admit that. I will probably make the same mistake again. In my own defense, if you don’t put yourself out on a limb once in a while you will miss opportunities! And some books do actually improve at their end. This book remained a struggle for me from start to finish.

When I chose this book my hope was that I would learn about Fiji, its physical qualities and its cultural traditions. This is a book of fiction; hopefully I would be served an engaging story. Hopefully the characters would be three dimensional. Hopefully I would empathize with at least one or two characters. Me, I dislike stereotypical figures and cinematic writing; unfortunately this is what I got.

It is true, cultural traditions are mentioned. Here is an example:

To the wild beating of drums, warriors preformed a cibi, or war dance, to demonstrate their superiority over their captive. With clubs and spears raised high, they danced aggressively, only inches away from him. He looked up at them fearlessly and laughed openly at their efforts. This incensed one warrior, who kicked him in the face, dazing him and drawing more blood. Another warrior urinated over him.

The drumming softened and the warriors were pushed aside by a dozen near-naked maidens who performed a wate, or dance aimed at sexually humiliating their captive. To the cheers of the onlookers, the nubile maidens left nothing to the imagination as they simulated intercourse and performed other crude gestures in front of and over their captive. This age-old insult was too much even for him, and he closed his eyes to try to escape this ultimate disgrace.
(at 52%)

Then follows further methods of torture and the prisoner’s response:

The captive spat in Joeli’s direction; “Eat shit, you dog!” (52%)

The fantastic hairstyles of the chiefs are described. That is true too. They are pigmented in bright colors and they are huge. The bigger and the flashier the better. But how many times do we need to be told. The chiefs are jealous of each other’s “hairdos”. However, there is no author’s note specifying what practices are real and which could be imaginary.

Perhaps the real problem is that I have a hard time taking any of this seriously, given the style of writing. Tell me; didn’t the captive’s response above surprise you? Later the American yells, “Holly shit!” Many times the words used feel inappropriate. But of course in a movie it might be effective, given contemporary audiences. Look at the excerpts I have given you; what do you think of that word “connectivity” used below?

This is an action adventure story and romance. I am not a big consumer of either. Maybe you are. For me the sexual fantasies of the two main characters, a swashbuckling American and a missionary’s daughter, are pathetic. I mean, are we supposed to be titillated? I wasn’t!

What else bothers me? That the Fijian natives believe in magic, that is not strange, but that one woman slave with “the gift” is able to curse Susannah, of whom she is insanely jealous, well this is just too contrived.

The authors think the bad boy must become good:

He felt very little connectivity between the self centered man he was when he arrived and the man he was now. And, he knew, that change was due entirely to Susannah. From the moment he’d first seen her, he’d been unable to think of anything or anyone else. She’d drawn out his real self from deep inside him – a side he never knew existed. Because of her, he felt more alive than ever before. (at 53%)

Just too soppy. And at the same moment, Susannah is praying to God. BTW, isn’t there a dash between self and centered?

The story is cinematically constructed. The characters are stereotypical. What they do is unbelievable. I don’t like the words the authors use. I am not even sure if the cultural facts are correct. Oh, and the ending is so corny.

No, this is not a book for me. You must decide if it is for you. Many others have liked this book.