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Authors: Peter Rudiak-Gould

Surviving Paradise

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SURVIVING PARADISE

SURVIVING PARADISE

One Year on a Disappearing Island

by
Peter Rudiak-Gould

 

 

New York / London
www.sterlingpublishing.com

 

 

 

STERLING and the distinctive Sterling logo are registered trademarks of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Available

10    9    8    7    6    5    4    3    2    1

Published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016
© 2009 by Peter Rudiak-Gould
Distributed in Canada by Sterling Publishing
c
/
o
Canadian Manda Group, 165 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6K 3H6
Distributed in the United Kingdom by GMC Distribution Services
Castle Place, 166 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, England BN7 1XU
Distributed in Australia by Capricorn Link (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
P.O. Box 704, Windsor, NSW 2756, Australia

Design and layout by Guenet Abraham

Manufactured in the United States of America
All rights reserved

Sterling ISBN 978-1-4027-6664-0

For information about custom editions, special sales, premium
and corporate purchases, please contact Sterling Special Sales
Department at 800-805-5489 or [email protected].

To my parents

“The very name of the Pacifc is a misnomer.”

PAUL THEROUX, THE HAPPY ISLES OF OCEANIA

Contents

 

 

 

A Note from the Author

 

Prologue

  CHAPTER 1:

Moon Landing

  CHAPTER 2:

A Beautiful Prison

  CHAPTER 3:

The Marshall Islands on One Dollar a Day

  CHAPTER 4:

A Tropical Paradox

  CHAPTER 5:

Learning to Speak Again

  CHAPTER 6:

Underwater Coralhead Cinderblock Soccer Wrestling

  CHAPTER 7:

No Student Left Behind

  CHAPTER 8:

The Scent of New Things

  CHAPTER 9:

Gone Sailing

CHAPTER 10:

It Takes a Village to Break a Spirit

CHAPTER 11:

A Vacation from Paradise

CHAPTER 12:

Confessions of a Spearfsherman

CHAPTER 13:

From Island to Mainland

CHAPTER 14:

On the Waterfront

CHAPTER 15:

Liberation Days

CHAPTER 16:

Getting Past Customs

CHAPTER 17:

To Bring to an End

CHAPTER 18:

Another Shore

   EPILOGUE:

Fallen Palms

 

Acknowledgments

A Note from the Author

 

 

 

 

IF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS TRIGGER ANY ASSOCIATION AT ALL, IT IS
typically something tragic: World War II battleground, American nuclear testing site, imminent casualty of global warming.

I will tell you about all of these things, but I will also give you the other story: life after the Japanese military occupation, life away from atomic tests obliterating entire islets, life before the waters rise. This is not a tale of pitiful oppressed natives. It is my portrait of one Marshall Island at the turn of the twenty-first century, and how it felt to live alone in this alien culture on a remote speck of land at a rather tender age—how it was just like a rocky first romance, complete with infatuation and disillusionment. And if these low-lying islands are indeed doomed—if I spent my year there in the country's twilight—then all the more reason to write about the place now.

The events and people in this story are real except for tiny liberties taken for their privacy. A few local people did embarrassing things while I was there. I've left those episodes out. But the embarrassing things that
I
did—well, those I've left in, because even a year on a disappearing island can be funny.

Prologue

 

 

 

BOOK: Surviving Paradise
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