This is a pleasant, vaguely humorous (though rarely laugh-out-loud funny) memoir from a British teacher in the Solomon Islands. The author, who portrays himself as a good-natured bumbler, stumbles into the opportunity to travel to a small island in this remote country and enact some scheme for the betterment of the islanders. Once there, he eventually stumbles on the idea of a chicken business; then follows a long but ultimately successful quest to obtain the necessary chickens. Meanwhile he enjoys the pace and beauty of island life and the company of both islanders and expats.
And there’s not too much else to say about this one: it’s enjoyable, but not particularly insightful; we don’t learn too much either about the islands or the author. When Randall questioned the veracity of Arthur Grimble’s memoir of Pacific island life (which I also recently read), I started to wonder about Randall’s own honesty. A few episodes seem very neat, and really, who loses his footing and falls headlong into a bush or a pile of sacks every time he gives a speech? Once I could believe, but twice? Nevertheless, this is a nice lightweight read and helped fill in the Solomon Islands on my mental map. And it’s one of the few expat memoirs of the Pacific that made me a little jealous.