Wednesday, January 30, 2013


In an age of anxiety men seek a refuge. Because of some deep urge, constant throughout history, troubled men traditionally dream of islands, possibly because the smallness of an island invites the illusion that here the complexities of continental societies can be avoided, or at least controlled. This is a permanent, world-wide dream.

When the island chosen for refuge happens to lie in the South Pacific, a colourful body of romance often helps to make the idea of escape an absolute obsession. Then, if the chosen island is reputed to contain lovely and uninhibited girls, the obsession is apt to degenerate into a monomania. And if the girls are Polynesians, the dreamer is truly lost.

The authors of this book can testify to the allure of the Pacific. One is a college professor who has served as head of a large department at the University of Hawaii. He has learned that three days after a blizzard in Minnesota, or a week after the explosion of the newest horror bomb, or three weeks after the onslaught of general bad news, his mail will be flooded with applications from professors on the United States mainland who think they could be happy only on a Pacific island. The number of Americans who believe that the islands possess some remedy for our day's malady is staggering.

The other author has reported generally upon the Pacific and as a result receives a constant stream of mail from citizens of many nations who have grown weary of atomic bombs, dictators, taxes and neurasthenia. His correspondents are united in their conviction that only in the fabled islands of the South Seas can they find the fulfillment that their society denies them. Were each of the islands a continent, there would still be insufficient room for the defeated people of the world who require refuge."

So begins the first chapter, "To All Who Seek a Refuge", in James A. Michener's book "Rascals in Paradise" which, together with "Tales of the South Pacific" and "Return to Paradise", form a trilogy which is required reading for anyone dreaming of living on a tropical island.

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