The Happy Isles of Oceania

The Happy Isles of Oceania : Paddling the Pacific

4.01 (5,719 ratings by Goodreads)
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Paul Theroux invites us to join him on one of his most exotic and tantalizing adventures exploring the coasts and blue lagoons of the Pacific Islands, and taking up residence to discover the secrets of these isles.

Theroux is a mesmerizing narrator - brilliant, witty, keenly perceptive as he floats through Gauguin landscapes, sails in the wake of Captain Cook and recalls the bewitching tales of Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson. Alone in his kayak, paddling to seldom visited shores, he glides through time and space, discovering a world of islands, their remarkable people, and in turn, happiness.

'A sharp, fascinating and highly entertaining book ... Theroux at his best' Daily Telegraph.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 752 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 32mm | 511g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 56pp colour and b&w photographs and illustrations
  • 0140159762
  • 9780140159769
  • 329,783

Table of contents

Part 1 Meganesia: New Zealand - the land of the long white cloud; New Zealand - sloshing through the South Island; waffling in white Australia; walkabout in Woop Woop; north of the never-never. Part 2 Melanesia: buoyant in the peaceful Trobiands; aground in the troubled Trobriands; the Solomon - down and dirty in Guadalcanal; the Solomons - in the Egg Fields of Savo Island; Vanuatu - cannibals and missionaries; the oddest island in Vanuatu; Fiji - the dividied island of Viti Levu; Fiji - Vanua Levu and the islets of Bligh Water. Part 3 Polynesia: Tonga - the royal island of Tongatapu; Tonga - alone on the desert islands of Vava'u; in the backwaters of Western Samoa; American Samoa - the littered lagoon; Tahiti - the windward shore of the island of love; a voyage to the Marquesas; the Cook Islands - in the lagoon of Aitutaki; Easter Island - beyond the surf zone of Rapa Nui; Easter Island - the old canoe ramp at Tongariki. Part 4 Paradise: Oahu - open espionage in Honalulu; Kauai - following the dolphins on the Na Pali coast; Niihau and Lanai - some men are islands; the big island - paddling in the state of grace.
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Review Text

This travel book follows Paul Theroux's explorations of the Pacific islands by collapsible kayak. Paddling through the islands, he also finds an unusual melting pot of cultures and contrasts.
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Review quote

"Perceptive, terribly readable, and wickedly funny...[An] exhilarating book." --Book Review
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About Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux has written many works of fiction and travel writing, including the modern classics The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, My Secret History and The Mosquito Coast. He won the Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing 2020.
Paul Theroux divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian islands.
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Rating details

5,719 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 34% (1,926)
4 41% (2,321)
3 20% (1,141)
2 4% (251)
1 1% (80)
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