Coconut Chaos: Pitcairn, Mutiny and A Seduction at Sea ...

Coconut Chaos: Pitcairn, Mutiny and A Seduction at Sea ...

by Diana Souhami
     
 

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This singular tale by Whitbread Prize-winning writer Diana Souhami connects the famous mutiny on the Bounty in the Pacific Ocean in 1789 to the plight of the islanders of Pitcairn now. Its conceptual core is how a small act—the taking of a coconut by Fletcher Christian from William Bligh's stores on the ship—had dramatic ramifications that continue today.

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Overview

This singular tale by Whitbread Prize-winning writer Diana Souhami connects the famous mutiny on the Bounty in the Pacific Ocean in 1789 to the plight of the islanders of Pitcairn now. Its conceptual core is how a small act—the taking of a coconut by Fletcher Christian from William Bligh's stores on the ship—had dramatic ramifications that continue today. The vivid narrative includes mutiny, travel, biography, incest, homosexuality, murder and rape, science and technology, fantasy and selective history. Sea voyages, most of them extraordinary, drive the narrative forward: the author's own journey to Pitcairn where Fletcher Christian hid to escape punishment; Bligh's navigation to Timor in violent weather, without maps, in a small boat, with scant supplies and starving men; the voyage to England with mutineers in chains and their shipwreck; any many others.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Souhami's (Selkirk's Island) new book is difficult to categorize as travel literature. By her own admission, her narrative voice is "invented" and the account of her voyage "half-remembered, half-imagined and open to interpretation." Souhami weaves factual details about the original mutiny on the HMS Bounty(in passages that are well written and fascinating) with an account of present-day troubles and trials (literally) of Pitcairn Islanders. But she adds to this mix a fictionalized storyline of her journey to Pitcairn that falls flat; bordering on wacky but without charm or humor, this story line is at odds with the tone of the rest of the book. Souhami does offer an intriguing exploration of the concept of chaos theory, how one chance act has an effect through time, in this case master's mate Fletcher Christian's taking of a coconut on the Bounty-followed by a reprisal from the infamous Captain Bligh, a mutiny, the settlement of Pitcairn, and the tribulations that island and its people have endured since. Overall, however, the fact/fiction format is not successful. Not recommended.
—Lee Arnold

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780297847878
Publisher:
Orion Publishing Group, Limited
Publication date:
04/12/2007
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

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