On the Makaloa Mat Paperback – Jun 17 2004
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Jack London (1876-1916) was an American writer who produced two hundred short stories, more than four hundred nonfiction pieces, twenty novels, and three full-length plays in less than two decades. His best-known works include The Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf, and White Fang. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The best story in the book is "Shin-Bones," in which a modern, Oxford-educated Hawaiian prince recalls a life-changing adventure from his youth. To satisfy his superstitious mother's obsession with bone collecting, he accompanied an aged servant on a perilous quest to recover the hidden remains of his ancestors. In a story of similar subject matter, "The Bones of Kahekili," a wealthy, white rancher persuades his elderly servant to reveal the whereabouts of the remains of an old Hawaiian chieftain and the mysterious events surrounding his burial. "The Tears of Ah Kim" tells the story of a Chinese grocer in Honolulu who incurs the wrath of his aged mother when he reveals his intention to marry a young widow. Mother feels the bride-to-be is too modern, too liberal, and too westernized for her son. In "The Water Baby," an educated young Hawaiian man is treated to a folk tale while he accompanies a poor, elderly fisherman on a squid hunt. "The Kanaka Surf," about a love triangle in Waikiki, is easily the worst story in the book. Modern romance was never London's strong suit.
The stories in this collection exemplify London's mature writing style, for better or for worse. Over the course of his career, London's skill as a writer developed immensely. He was a much more proficient wordsmith at the end of his career than he was when he started. As he gained confidence and facility in his writing, his plots became more complex, his characters more fully realized, and his insight into human psychology more subtle and nuanced. Yet, much of his later work lacks the forceful directness and simple, crowd-pleasing fun of his earlier work. In his later years, he developed an annoying tendency to riddle his stories with unnecessary tangential digressions. By throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, he comes across as overly concerned with showing off his erudition and wit at the expense of a satisfying plot. In the stories included here, for example, each character is introduced with a detailed genealogical pedigree. Places casually mentioned in conversation are almost invariably accompanied by a superfluous side story of "Remember what happened there?" At times the dialogue resembles two people reading the index of a Hawaiian atlas. All the local color and atmosphere that London heaps into these tales adds authenticity to the setting but hinders the narrative momentum. The stories in this collection are all rather long, and most seem overloaded with gratuitous filler.
On the Makaloa Mat is a good collection of stories, but not one of London's best. As far as his Hawaiian stories go, his earlier collection The House of Pride and Other Stories is better overall. Nevertheless, a few of the gems included here make this book necessary reading for true fans of London.
The stories abound with murders, blood and cruelness, but they're never cheap or vulgar. In fact, I give them five stars because I consider them to be masterpieces of storytelling. London has no mercy, but beneath the surface his characters are full of life, that plenty, wild life embedded in the white men who conquered the world, and the aborigines which suffered the conquest. Extremely recommended.