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Melal: A Novel of the Pacific
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Melal: A Novel of the Pacific

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  93 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
On Good Friday, 1981, Rujen Keju and his two sons come face to face with their complicated inheritance -- one that includes years of atomic testing and the continued military presence of the U.S. in the Pacific. In this highly original work of history and adventure, novelist Robert Barclay weaves together characters and stories from mythological times with those of the pre ...more
Paperback, 316 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by University of Hawaii Press (first published June 1st 2002)
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Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: world-booklist
Marshall Islands

"In the days following his wife's death he did not talk or eat or leave the house, and twice he had tied then untied a rope into a noose."

"Bravery is half of what a young man needs in life."

"Land means a great deal to the Marshallese. It means more than just a place where you can plant your food crops and build your house, or a place where you can bury your dead. It is the very life if the people. take away their land and their spirits go also."

"He could speak two languages, whil
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who are fed up with working for The Man
This is a gritty novel, and yet also sweet, with elements of fantasy and adventure. The story takes place on Good Friday, 1981. Rujen Teju, a Marshallese man who works at the sewage treatment facility on the island of Kwajalein, home to the US army base, is having an unrelentingly terrible day. Meanwhile his sons, Jebro and Nuke (named after the bomb), set off on a fishing expedition to visit their ancestral home island of Tar-Woj, which has been declared off-limits by the US army. And just beyo ...more
Roderick Vincent
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: topthirty
I've read the book three times. I'm a sucker for a sea adventure novel. This novel has one of the greatest life and death conflicts out in the open seas. "Melal" is a story set in the Kwajalein Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Rujen is a Marshallese native living on the small, filthy island of Ebeye who is shipped in to work on the pristine American island of Kwajalein each day in order to support his family. Deeply conflicted, he is a man seeking to save his heritage. His sons, Jebro a ...more
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read several books where the life of Pacific islanders is changed by contact with the outside world, but where they usually manage to keep a love of their home island as a kind of paradise. These islanders are removed from their island, forbidden to return, dumped on another island in concrete blockhouses surrounded by imported rubbish and dead coral, then forced to become sewage treatment workers or maids at minimum wage by the occupying colonialists. It is not slavery, but it is not all ...more
May 03, 2008 rated it liked it
It took me a couple of times to get into this book, but when I finally did, it was actually hard to put down at times. The focus is on a Marshallese man and his two sons, and their life on their small island under the restrictions of the U.S. government. Intertwined with their story are mythological characters, one being somewhat mischievous, the others actually fairly grotesque.
This is definitely not a romantic or happy book of the Pacific. I did wish for a little more when I reached the end
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Got this book from a great friend/professor Keith Camacho...great read about the situation in the Marshall Islands with an overtone of magical realism.
Aug 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favoritebooks
This is a really interesting book about the South Pacific -- a region I know little about. I would highly recommend it.
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book on the Marshall Islands. I would recommend this book.
May 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Bored me out of my goddamn mind. I only regained consciousness when the words 'frigate bird' showed up.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
read 2,2,4,2,1,2
Jodi & Scott
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Love the insight into a lesser known part of the world
Kaylene Reyes
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Dec 26, 2017
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Will Hawkins
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Nov 04, 2015
Sara-Louise Walker
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Nov 15, 2016
Oct 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Postcolonial lit book #4
Abizairie Sánchez
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Jan 22, 2015
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Mar 24, 2015
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Oct 11, 2007
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Mar 01, 2014
Kristin Schwartzlose
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Feb 06, 2014
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