South Sea Tales
As brutal and stark as his cold north stories, these short stories evoke the same primitive lusts and hungers but in a warmer setting. Also evident is London’s casual racism. This may have been simply a produ ...more
My introduction to the fiction of Jack London is South Sea Tales, an immersive collection of short stories that rustled palm trees in my imagination and at times seemed to blow the aroma of banana leaves from the page. Originally published in South Sea Tales (1911), House of Pride and Other Tales of Hawaii (1912), A Son of the Sun (1912) and posthumously, On the Makaloa Mat (1919), these picturesque stories came after the Klondike Tales which London is so renowned and were the culmination of an ...more
A great typhoon sweeps over a small atoll, leaving the inhabitants shaken and tossed about, only to realize that nothing, really, has changed. 4/5
The Whale Tooth
It's always a good idea to listen to the advice of those who are wiser than you, even when you have the hand of God on your side. 3/5
The tale of the son of a chief who is taken away to be a slave and then a plantation worker, Mauki, is full of the kind of detail that makes the South Sea Tales come alive and a plea ...more
Like Conrad he is horrified by the treatment of the natives; the physical abuse, the exploitation of their labor, the cheating they receive on the true value of their products ...more
"A Thousand Deaths" is a SF story with some magical science & horror elements. I'd give it 3 stars. Reminiscent of The Island of Dr. Moreau in some ways.
"Terrible Solomons" gets 2 stars, barely. It's supposed to be humorous, but largely missed the mark due to the old Colonial prejudices & the stilted style. "Niggers" & "pickaninnies" are subhumans used to scare a fop the way one might use a m ...more
“The House of Mapuhi” is about a native who wants to sell a pearl to buy a house, and then a typhoon or hurricane comes and wipes out the area. I didn’t like this story so much, I’d probably give it a two stars.
“The Whale Tooth” is about a Christian missionary. Another two-star story.
“Mauki” is ...more
These stories are not for the faint of heart. Men are killed and eaten, massacred, killed in storms, eaten by sharks and more.
None of the main characters are particularly likable. They are coarse, mean, wi ...more
Very impressed. I've tried to read Call of the Wild a few times, and could never stick with it, but these stories engaged me.
The liberal use of the N-word is a bit hard to handle, but London is no Kipling. He goes to great lengths to show how a handful of whites can seemingly dominate whole islands (spoiler: from their--the whit ...more
Bien, dicho esto, encontramos una serie de relatos cortos en una ambientación totalmente opuesta a las dos obras anteriores. Leyendas y mitos cobran fuerza alternándose con historias muy cotidianas.
La narrativa y la descripción siguen siendo impecables, aunque es cierto que algunas historias no me han terminado de enganchar. Este autor gana mucho más en el género de la novela.
At the low end, there's a story called "Yah Yah Yah!" The title gives away way too much of the story. It could ...more
A central element of many tales certainly is the unequal struggle between autochtounos and foreign colonisators about freedom/power and conflicting lifestyles.
Quite a few earlier reviews here have been critisizing the extreme racism portrayed in most of the stories, not only for the plot but also for the language ...more
From start to finish the trouble here is London's portrayal of whites enslaving Melanesians. His stories lend his sympathies evenly to all men, with the islanders having dignity and some of the whites being horrible brutes. But he still falls into the trap of portraying the islanders as Noble Savages. Or good servants, particularly troubling in the story The Heathen. I should be generous and say Londo ...more
Murderous savages! Yes, nearly everyone in these tales of the South Seas is a murderous savage! White, brown, black...murderous savages all! These often lurid tales read like men's magazine "true adventures" and that's a compliment. They have the ring of authenticity. Whether that ring is hollow or true, I have no idea.
I have not yet seen a cover for this book that captures the intensity and brutality of these tales. Languid ladies, palm trees, tranquil pools of bright blue water...yes, I've see...more
“…but to see it as I saw it, down to 29.62, was sufficient to sober the most drunken pearl buyer that ever incinerated smallpox microbes in Scotch whiskey.”—page 60
This collection of eight short stories, ‘South Sea Tales’, by Jack London, starts off a bit slow and hard to follow, but just keeps getting better and better with each tale. Either the stories improved, or I became better acclimated to London’s storytelling rhythm. Probably both.
Recommendation: Although Mich ...more
The characters are well drawn and London paints a vivid picture of the savagery of the Solomon Isles (both in terms of the natives and the weather).
Almost all the stories are written from the perspective of white traders looking for pearls, but there are some interesting ones written from a native viewpoint too.
South Sea Tales provides some interesting insight to the life and culture of the South Pacific islands during the 1900s. Racist themes are prevalent - but probably accurate in the historical context, which was during the time of when western colonial powers were exerting t ...more
London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti ...more