Posted by: koolwine | June 1, 2017

Marshall Islands: Surviving Paradise

Eager for adventure in the remote and exotic South Pacific, an American college graduate arrives on a tiny island to teach English to Marshallese children.

Country Focus: Marshall Islands

Surviving Paradise: One Year on a Disappearing Island
By Peter Rudiak-Gould
Published by Union Square Press, 2009.
244 pgs.

Genre: Memoir

About the author:  Rudiak-Gould’s time in the Marshall Islands lead him to write two scholarly books: Practical Marshallese and Climate Change and Tradition in a Small Island State. His second memoir, The Oxford Tribe, describes his time as an anthropology student at the oldest university in the Western world.

World Lit Up Rating:
(On a scale of 1-5, with 1 book = turned off and 5 books = lit up)

Peter Rudiak-Gould


This was my new world, so I decided to explore it. After making some hand signals to Alfred and Tior to explain what I was up to, I stepped onto the beach and embarked on a bold one-man expedition: to circle the entirety of the island’s shore.

Forty-five minutes later, I wondered what else I could do for the rest of the year.

I tried again. I crossed the uninhabited interior of the island, certain my first foray along the beach had bypassed some vast swath of hidden territory. It hadn’t, I realized five minutes later, when I reached the opposite shore. I tried a third time, walking along the lagoon-hugging village, searching for spots that I hadn’t passed yesterday when Alfred guided me from the airstrip to his house. There were none, I realized as I reached the airport fifteen minutes later. Uncharted had become well trodden. I had circumnavigated the world before lunch.

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