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From the publisher:
A cultural castaway writes winningly of life on a remote island in the
Pacific that may be one of global warming’s first casualties.
Just one month after his twenty-first birthday, Peter Rudiak-Gould
moved to Ujae, a remote atoll in the Marshall Islands located 70 miles
from the nearest telephone, car, store, or tourist, and 2000 miles from
the closest continent. He spent the next year there, living among its
450 inhabitants and teaching English to its schoolchildren. At first
blush, Surviving Paradise is a thoughtful and laugh-out-loud hilarious
documentation of Rudiak-Gould’s efforts to cope with daily life on Ujae
as his idealistic expectations of a tropical paradise confront harsh
reality. But Rudiak-Gould goes beyond the personal, interweaving his
own story with fascinating political, linguistic and ecological
digressions about the Marshall Islands. Most poignant are his
observations of the noticeable effect of global warming on these tiny,
low-lying islands and the threat rising water levels pose to their
already precarious existence.
An Eat, Pray, Love as written by Paul Theroux,
Surviving Paradise is a disarmingly lighthearted narrative with a
substantive emotional undercurrent.
Surviving Paradise was National Geographic Traveler's
Book of the Month for November 2009, and was shortlisted for the William
Saroyan International Prize for Writing.
for Surviving Paradise
Utterly unexpected, vivid, and blessedly funny.
Callenbach, author of the bestselling Ecotopia and Publisher’s Lunch
[A]n extraordinarily engaging diary-portrait of a 21st-century castaway
uncovering the everyday riches, enduring frustrations, and confounding
contradictions of life in a South Pacific paradise.
(See the full review here)
Alternatively hilarious, emotional and thought provoking....an
eye-opening look into a beautiful yet harsh paradise far from the
reaches of tourism.
(See the full review here)
This entertaining memoir reads like a novel....The perfect book for
readers of fish-out-of-water travel memoirs.
In Surviving Paradise, Peter Rudiak-Gould has pulled off the
improbable: turning a year spent on a remote Pacific island the size of
a shopping mall into a memorable, moving narrative.
Cohan, author of On Mexican Time and Mexican Days
With an eye for humor that is fresh and surprising, Peter Rudiak-Gould
lays out the delightful ironies--and the vexing conundrums--of life in
a traditional culture on the brink of change. His tales from the edge
of the world are at times deeply moving, quite often stunningly
insightful, and consistently hilarious. I found myself grinning by page
Erdman, author of Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of
an African Village
There's magic at work here. Not until late in the book--after he has
seduced you with his humor, poetic prose, and elegant observations
about life on a drowning tropical island--do you realize that the
window Rudiak-Gould has been holding open and allowing you to peek
through is not actually a window, but a brilliantly-disguised mirror.
Newsham, author of Take Me With You: A Round-the-World Journey to
Invite a Stranger Home
Peter Rudiak-Gould transcends and defies every travel-memoir cliché
(i.e. ‘I went there to save them, but it was they who saved me’),
reinventing the notion of what travel writing can accomplish. From his
rollicking adventures in spear fishing to his efforts to master the
Marshallese language, Rudiak-Gould has written a dynamic narrative of
personal and global transformation that's a joy from departure to
Monroy, author of Mexican High
At once a travel narrative, a personal memoir, and an anthropological
excursion, Surviving Paradise is also an utterly charming, often very
funny account of a young man's surreal immersion in a relatively
traditional Pacific culture. I recommend it heartily!
Millman, author of Last Places: A Journey in the North
Surprising and funny. A gentle, witty reminder that we live on an
entirely unpredictable planet.
W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire
Peter Rudiak-Gould went looking for the biggest adventure in the most
faraway place he could imagine. His boyish enchantment with mystery
itself matured into a thoughtful appreciation of the people he came to
know on a primitive island. The resulting memoir is sensitive, funny
Dirlam, author of Beyond Siberia: Two Years in a Forgotten Place
Home with Books
Planet D, Mindful
Bookworm's World, Toronto