My Dad told us that 'burping' after a meal was considered polite in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It is not in the UK. He was a very gentle father who did not like having to tell us off, but when he did we remembered. This is the book where he found that interesting little snippet of information. In Arthur Grimble went to the Gilbert and Ellice islands as a cadet in the colonial service a junior administrative officer , becoming a District Officer in , based on Tawara and then Abemama My Dad told us that 'burping' after a meal was considered polite in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands.
In Arthur Grimble went to the Gilbert and Ellice islands as a cadet in the colonial service a junior administrative officer , becoming a District Officer in , based on Tawara and then Abemama and Beru. He wrote about the islands and their people in an entertaining and self-deprecating way. He was interested in them and wanted to find out about their way of life, so he learnt their language and talked to them, including talking to older islanders about their traditions, he fished with them, befriended them and worked with them.
Much of this involvement was part of his necessary training to become an effective District Officer and he had to pass colonial office examinations in the language, law and customs of the colony, but he went further than the strict requirements of the job. He later returned to the islands as Resident Commissioner and issued revised laws which became the basis of the constitution when they became independent.
There is a sequel to this book. Dec 08, Ariel-lionel -avramlabehalevi rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Recommended to Ariel-lionel by: I'm fascinated, entertained and gripped by the accounts he gives of the lives and feats of the then Gilbert Islanders and also by his own brilliant achievements, which he writes about with much modesty, but also with humour.
I'm delighted that not only is there a sequel of his to read written in the 50s, but also a film to see - Pacific Destiny - based on the 1st book! My only criticism of the book is that I'd like to have read more about his wife Olivia and their ch this is a most amazing book! My only criticism of the book is that I'd like to have read more about his wife Olivia and their children born on the Islands, but it won't diminish the 5 stars i'm giving it!
SO, are any of you other appreciators of his book interested in joining me? Jul 07, Colin Whittaker rated it really liked it. How glad I am that I did reread it. This is an end of empire story that is in serious danger of giving colonialism a good name. The protagonist, Authur Grimble, tells us of a lost time in the South Pacific and leaves me at least, craving for a time machine and a posting with the UK colonial office.
Don't read this book if you wish to preserve a belief in pitiless colonial oppression. Well it took me thirty years or more to get around to reading this little treasure of a book which had sat on my bookshelves through many moves. Once begun I could not put it down. Faithfully recalling a life now long gone on the Gilbert and Ellis Islands and by turns funny, tragic, fascinating and challenging Arthur Grimble writes with a candid, nostalgic but confident tone about his time there.
Now , I suppose this book could be appropriately shelved as anthropology although it was not written Well it took me thirty years or more to get around to reading this little treasure of a book which had sat on my bookshelves through many moves. Now , I suppose this book could be appropriately shelved as anthropology although it was not written with that purpose. Long out of print it deserves to be more widely known. His work is only matched or close to H E Maude. A great non-US Pacific read. Dec 07, Thomas rated it really liked it. Well written book about how life was supposed to be on the British Overseas Territories back in the days.
Mr Grimble has a good sense of humor and doesn't take himself seriously, which are 2 very important things for me. If you want to read a story about those days, buy it and read it. Dec 12, Mariteeta Neemia rated it it was amazing. I just need to do my research on the history of the Kiribati culture in the past, even though, I am born in Kiribati and I do love my country. Sep 14, Tim Newey rated it did not like it. Dec 01, Kelly rated it liked it Shelves: I liked Arthur Grimble and his book.
He's humble and self-deprecating in a way that feels true and unforced; he's appropriately respectful of the culture he's portraying; and he seems to have made every effort to assimilate into that culture as much as possible. He was adopted by an elder on the island where he lived, taught to recite his new family's lineage in the oral tradition of their ancestors, and was permitted to be ritually tattooed as part of his initiation into I-Kiribati society. Grim I liked Arthur Grimble and his book. Grimble has a deft touch when discussing cultural differences and traditions.
He often presents himself as an arrogant skeptic when confronted with traditions that he doesn't understand, and his skepticism is always proven unfounded, leaving him the butt of the joke and letting the readers draw their own conclusions. The story does drag occasionally, being less of a narrative than a collection of episodes and observations strung together in roughly chronological order, but it is worth reading for its many memorable moments and the window it provides into a little-known culture, and could also provide a much-needed template for how to write a respectful memoir of time spent in a foreign culture.
This is a condensed and edited version of a longer review that I published on my blog, Around the World in Books. Aug 04, Daniel Foster rated it it was amazing. A charming book which gives an insight into island life on the Gilbert islands. I became interested in the islands from my mother who was born there and spent some time there as a teenager.
My grandfather was the captain of a merchant ship in the pacific. At this time duriing the 50s the islands were part of the british empire. My mother has allways talked fondly of the gilbertise people and the islands. This book is written on the experiances of a young colonial official in the early twentieth A charming book which gives an insight into island life on the Gilbert islands. This book is written on the experiances of a young colonial official in the early twentieth century. His various stories cover a wide range of topics. I would love to visit the islands at some point but they really are very remote.
There is a second book called return to the islands. A fascinating read about a six year British Colonial Office posting in the South Pacific between and A posting which makes the ones I've had seem very tame. The book is a mix of social anthropology and anecdotes, often amusing, about his time in the Gilbert Islands.
The lack of narrative flow sometimes makes the book less motivating than it might otherwise be. However, I enjoyed it and it is a good book to finish on World Books Day!
A Pattern of Islands - Arthur Grimble - Google Книги
Nov 17, Carol rated it it was amazing. Grimble writes of his experience living in the Gilbert Islands. Although he wrote the book in , his family had gone there in and left in The Gilbert Islands are a stone's throw from the Carolina Islands where I lived for 4 years This made Grimble's stories very visual to me. He told of his family's experiences with charm never sparing the errors he made living in a culture so different from the one he grew up in.
Jan 17, Laura rated it did not like it.
A Pattern Of Islands
Yet another book we were forced to read at school at a tender age and found incomprehensible. It was old fashioned, even in the 70s and, as a mature adult, I discovered a copy in a second hand shop.
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I tried, I really tried but I couldn't make it past chapter one. I think this won a national literature award when it was first published, hence it's place on the syllabus but it even put us committed readers off. View all 3 comments. This was an English literature designated book for my Cambridge school certificate.
His lucid and witty style makes this book unforgettable after almost half a century! Apr 09, Kirsty Carslaw rated it it was amazing. Read whilst at school, I still cherish it after nearly 50 years and hope one day to visit these magical islands. Political correctness be damned, this is a charming book of great charm, innocence and love. Mar 18, Erinn rated it really liked it. Having lived in New Zealand, the Pacific theme and references are all too familiar. Grimble's charmingly self-deprecating style makes this book difficult to put down. At times, it's a bit dense, but Grimble is a captivating story teller.
Jan 04, Scott rated it it was amazing. Arthur Grimble paints a picture of a society and way of life that is now all but gone. His sympathy and understanding of the Gilbert's culture and myths shows the best of the colonial administration. Arthur Grimble was sent to the Gilbert and Ellice islands as a colonial administrator in the twilight of the Edwardian era.
He lived there for the next twenty-five years and developed a rare passion for the language, life and landscape of the place. Fortunately his island neighbours, a fascinating cast of fishermen, sorcerers, poets and fighters, began to trust this charming, happy and energetic young man, and shared with him their treasury of stories from the days when warfare was endemic and magic an essential part of everyday life.
A Pattern of Islands is a rich and complex cultural history of the dances and legends, rituals, spells and way of life of the islands. It is also a riproaring adventure story. Grimble learns to spear hungry sharks, to negotiate fearsome reefs and, on one terrifying day, is used as human bait to catch a giant squid.
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