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Sons for the Return Home (Talanoa


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The two loversboth university studentsin this novel face many cultural difficulties. She is a white New Zealander, blonde, outgoing, daughter of a successful businessman; he is the son of xenophobic Somoan immigrants to New Zealand, dark, reticent and bitter about his tenuous position as a ``coconut islander'' in white society. Indeed, this is also the story of two conflicting South Pacific nationsNew Zealand and Samoawhose inhabitants tend to translate racial pride into racist contempt for others. Told in the flat, passionless voice of the nameless boy, this allegory, rich in both history and geographic detail, demonstrates the problems of cultural cohabitation. Though his writing is slightly uneven and too often cliched, Wendt, a native Samoan and professor of literature, offers a fine, compassionate tale. (August)

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