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Return to Paradise [Mass Market Paperback]

James A. Michener
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 12 1984
James A. Michener, the master of historical fiction, revisits the scenes of his first great work, Tales of the South Pacific, the Pulitzer Prize winner that brought him international acclaim. In this sequel collection, Michener once again evokes the magic of the extraordinary isles in the Pacific—from Fiji and Gaudalcanal to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea—through stories that burst with adventure, charm, and local color. For Michener’s many fans around the globe, Return to Paradise is a precious second look at a land of enchantment by one of the most gifted storytellers of the twentieth century.
 
Praise for Return to Paradise
 
“A brilliant book and a worthy successor to Tales of the South Pacific.”The Atlanta Constitution
 
“This is a book that should be read by everyone. . . . All who have seen the South Pacific will find on every page the odors of frangipani, copra, blood, and beer.”The New York Times
 
“There’s drama and pathos and adventure and humanity . . . and a very high degree of excellence. Michener can write.”Kirkus Reviews

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Review

“A brilliant book and a worthy successor to Tales of the South Pacific.”The Atlanta Constitution
 
“This is a book that should be read by everyone. . . . All who have seen the South Pacific will find on every page the odors of frangipani, copra, blood, and beer.”The New York Times
 
“There’s drama and pathos and adventure and humanity . . . and a very high degree of excellence. Michener can write.”Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

James A. Michener was one of the world’s most popular writers, the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Sequel Sept. 12 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having read Tales of the South Pacific, one of the classics of 20th Century literature, I couldn't wait to read this 'sequel' by Michener. I wished I hadn't bothered. It seemed as if the great wordsmith was just writing because his publisher demanded to cash in on the success of 'Tales'. Disappointed, I put it down about a third of the way through and never bothered to pick it up again. It takes two to tango - even in a novel. Michener (the author) and I (the reader)danced our way through 'Tales' never missing a step. With the sequel it was if we had two left feet.
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Format:Hardcover
Michener takes us on a tour of the islands of the Pacific Ocean with a collection of entertaining short stories of the people who inhabit them. Fictitious or not, dear reader cares less. The way he represents their populace is more than fifty years past and certainly, times may have changed. This reviewer hopes that holds equally true for Fiji !! This is one of those perfect books for someone who has limited time for reading or enjoys doing so only in short bursts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Treasure! Oct. 28 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book. While reading Tales of the South Pacific, I was interested in the island cultures which played behind the main stories. This book delves into those cultures, as they were when the book was written. Nice stories.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Descriptions of Indians June 9 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The pieces on Fijian-Indians in 'Fiji' and 'The Mynah Birds', in which local Indians are shown up in an ugly and racist manner, are just bad writing. To his credit Michener apologised about his untoward remarks years after the publication of the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dated in some respects, but timeless in others. March 21 2007
By Nina M. Osier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this "sequel" to the more highly regarded TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC, author Michener adopts a somewhat different format. For each of the South Pacific islands included, he first writes an essay about its history and culture. He follows the essay with fiction, an original story set on that island. He not only writes about such obvious choices as Tahiti and Fiji; he also includes both Australia and New Zealand. His story set in New Zealand, a World War II homefront piece entitled UNTIL THEY SAIL, later became a film. That's the one part of this book that I remembered clearly, after a good 40 years, when I sat down to read RETURN TO PARADISE for the second time.

Michener's essays describe the South Pacific as it was in the late 1940s, several years before this "tail end" baby boomer was born, so today's reader needs to approach them as history and treat them accordingly. As such, they're intriguing. Some of the accompanying stories are equally dated, but I was surprised to find others echoing with human dilemmas only too familiar in today's world. UNTIL THEY SAIL didn't disappoint me a bit when read from a mature (think "old enough to be a grandma") woman's viewpoint, even though I last read it as a girl not long into adolescence. It helped me understand my parents' generation, then. This time around it reminded me that what happens to men and women separated (or brought together) by war is universal, and its dynamics never change.

Michener is always worth reading. 5 stars for sheer durability!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This Book is the Transition Feb. 10 2013
By z - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Michener is the lazy man's way to learn history. I have read many of Michener's works over the years. In terms of form, this book represents the transition from the Tales of the South Pacific to the type of work we know best and his biggest successes--Hawaii, Alaska, Centennial and so on. In these works, Michener blended or weaved a series of stories around a historic place or events. Yeah, it was cookie cutter, but it was also immensely readable. For history buffs, reading Michener is a secret sin. His books were perennial bestsellers.

Trying to figure out how Michener got to this model is tough when you read the Tales of the South Pacific, where the everything was contemporary. The Tales were essentially a set of very charming interrelated stories with the theme of the "fish out of water". Americans in the South Pacific during WWII were that indeed and the historic period need not be introduced to the reader as the book was published a few years after WWII. It is BTW his best work by far. The characters are the most human of any of his works.

In Return to Paradise, Michener introduces history and then tells a story in subsequent chapter. This is what we read in Hawaii and others. Return to Paradise is his first try at this. This book is the bridge between the Tales and later works like Hawaii and Alaska.

In Return to Paradise, some of the stories are better than others. I think "Morgan" is my personal favorite.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Treasure! Oct. 28 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book. While reading Tales of the South Pacific, I was interested in the island cultures which played behind the main stories. This book delves into those cultures, as they were when the book was written. Nice stories.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michener was honest about Paradise Feb. 26 2012
By Richard Dawid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after seeing the 1953 movie based on one of the stories in "Return to Paradise". After reading the book, I discovered that Michener painted a picture of Polynesia and the South Pacific as being both a heaven and a hell. Unlike the 'travelog" descriptions by the media and travel indusrty, Michener is brutally honest. He describes both the things that make the South Pacific a place of indescribable beauty and a place exactly the opposite by telling interweaving tales of events and people in various places. These stories are eye-opening giving a taste of reality in this blend of fact and fiction.

I recommend this as a mandatory reading for any American who wishes to go beyond the typical tourist venues of any of these South Pacific Paradises, otherwise they may be in for a shock. Until I read this book, I wanted to retire to and live in one of the many places Michener writes about. I now realize, where I live is closer to my idea of Paradise than what I envisioned the places of the South Pacific.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars South Pacific Sampler Nov. 14 2012
By Christian A. Tischhauser - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is, in a way, a follow-up to Mitchner's Tales of the South Pacific. The time is five years after the end of World War II. It is more like Mitchner's later books with factual chapters about the South Pacific interspersed with anecdotal chapters giving life, flavor, and character to its inhabitants. From Australia and New Zealand to the New Hebrides and Polynesia, he describes each islands' unique features; how some you may want to live in, why some you would want to avoid. The detail is intense with out being tedious, truly captivating, a great, fun-read as only Mitchner can provide.
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