I picked this up at the wonderful Powell's City of Books in Portland a few years ago on my first trip to Portland. I recall being overwhelmed by the breathe of titles they had in the Polynesian literature section. I guess my judgement must of been clouded that I choose this book. I know I also bought a book about headhunting as well, hopefully that title will prove a little more interesting.
My main problem with this book is, only about 1/3rd of it is about Tahiti. The rest of the book is about Bali and then a random collection of the author poems.
Poems, despite having a best friend who is a poetess I have never been very keen on poetry. I blame too many Voodoo donuts on this choice.
It was signed so maybe that swayed my purchasing decision as well.
The part of the book that does deal with Tahiti was fine, if I bit emotionless. The author went to Tahiti in 1938, the first part is written a diary style format so we get a day by day account. He leaves from Pago Pago then to Fiji. Gets stuck in Fiji for awhile waiting for his next boat. Then goes to Tonga which he enjoyed more then Fiji. Next up is Samoa and then he finally makes it to Tahiti.
Now the book goes from diary format to just travelogue. He seems to have your usual visit to Tahiti in the 1930's, goes to Quinns, gets the hots for a local girl, swims in Loti's pool, briefly meets Zane Grey but misses meeting James Norman Hall.
He does make it to Moorea but the excitement of Papeete calls him back to Tahiti. He did get to meeting Charles Nordhoff but had nothing to say about it except they shared a lemonade.
The few decorations by Dorothy Goodwin Blodgett are nice.
Then it goes into his poetry inspired by his trip. He has a little more emotion over the local lady he had the hots for but that was about it.
Then the book goes into Bali and Java where there is much written about topless ladies. I did enjoy the illustration of the man with a huge leaf on his back as a rain coat.
And then we get about 50 pages of poetry that has nothing to do with Polynesia, Bali or Java.
Can't say this is my favorite idem in the Bibliotiki. Since space is getting tight, it might be going away.
I did look up the author and did find some interesting tidbits. Copied from this site.
Sydney Gorham Babson born 1882 at Brooklyn, NY; died 11 Jan 1975 at Hood River, OR at age 92.
He was graduated After graduating from Princeton in 1902 he worked for a time in New York City with Sinclair & Babson, wholesalers of Portland Cement, and then with the Vulcanite Portland Cement Company. Sydney and his brother Rea then moved to Oregon where they cleared the forest in the newly-settled Upper Hood River Valley. They planted one of the first commercial apple and pear orchards in the area. Sydney devoted his life with single-minded purpose to these orchards for over 60 years. In 1960 he was named "Orchardist of the Year."
Sydney was also a writer. Among the books he authored were Tahiti Holiday, Green Wave of Mexico, and Complete Poems. His poem Verdun was published in the New York Times of 29 March 1917.
Well, next time I have an apple in Portland I will think of him.