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The Pacific Room

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  18 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
This remarkable debut novel by Australian author Michael Fitzgerald tells of the last days of Tusitala, ‘the teller of tales’, as Robert Louis Stevenson became known in Samoa where he chose to die. In 1892 Girolamo Nerli travels from Sydney by steamer to Apia, with the intention of capturing something of Jekyll and Hyde in his portrait of the famous author. Nerli’s presenc ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published 2017 by Transit Lounge
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Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
In 1892, Italian painter Girolamo Nerli travels to Samoa to paint famous author Robert Louis Stevenson, known to the locals as Tusitala, ‘the teller of tales’. His goal? To capture something of the Hyde within Stevenson’s Jekyll. Over a century later, art historian Lewis Wakefield makes the same pilgrimage, in search of the story behind this portrait, leaving behind the medication that controls his bi-polar disorder and allowing him access to his own repressed feelings. Meanwhile, dancer Teuila ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
When I saw that this book was about Robert Louis Stevenson I wondered if I should just spend a little time googling around before I read it. I knew very little about him beyond ‘Treasure Island’ and a vague sense that he was in the Pacific at some stage. No, I decided. Let the book stand on its own two feet and so I launched in.
It doesn’t surprise me that Brian Castro wrote the blurb for this book. Castro and Fitzgerald are not dissimilar writers, who both revel in language and imagery. I fou
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written book set in Samoa with the rhythm of the Pacific set into every sentence.

There are two intertwined threads - the first concerns the last weeks in the life of Robert Louis Stevenson who was known to the Samoans as Tusitala, the teller of tales. Stevenson was painted by an Italian painter, Girolamo Nerli, and the second thread concerns an art historian, Lewis Wakefield, who travels to Samoa to research Girolamo Nerli.

There is also a thread within these threads - Steve
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
It’s just coincidence, but Michael Fitzgerald’s The Pacific Room – a novel loosely based around the last days of Robert Louis Stevenson – is being published in the same year as the biographical Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa by Joseph Farrell. It was interesting to have read the bio first, because it made RLS more familiar to me than if I’d relied on the novel alone.

The Pacific Room is not, however, primarily about RLS, though allusions to his stories are woven throughout the novel. The book be
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best-written novels I've read this year. Fitzgerald's words are so perfectly honed, each sentence beautifully balanced and full of vivid imagery. The plot is languid, like the Samoan setting's air, inhaling in the past as Robert Louis Stevenson dies and exhaling in the now as Lewis comes to terms with his family's tragic past. Both sensory and sensual, this is a gorgeous piece of writing with a powerful sense of place.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: australian
This is a difficult book for me to rate. I liked the story and, having spent time in Samoa and even visited Vailima, it prompted me to delve further into RLS and his time there. However, the time shifts and the jumping about of the various story threads was at times difficult to follow
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