Leaves of the Banyan Tree ePUB Ë the Banyan MOBI

Leaves of the Banyan Tree A saga of three generations, Leaves of the Banyan Tree tells the story of a family and community in Western Samoa undermined by the changes brought about by colonialism It is considered a classic work of Pacific literature and Wendt s best novel [PDF] ✪ Snowbound with the Sheriff By Lauri Robinson – 9facts.co.uk Leaves of the Banyan Tree tells the story of a family and community in Western Samoa undermined by the changes brought about by colonialism It is considered a classic work of Pacific literature and Wendt s best novel


10 thoughts on “Leaves of the Banyan Tree

  1. Calzean Calzean says:

    A fascinating insight into Samoa across three generations of a family Set in 1900 1970ish, Tauilopepe is the central character He is the headman of his aiga and wants to be the most powerful man in his village He is seriously ambitious and as his fortunes rise, he moves further away from his culture to reward himself with a big house, a flushing toilet, whisky, and the ability to send his sons to Western schools.This is a book about greed, misuse of power, the use of religion to influence peo A fascinating insight into Samoa across three generations of a family Set in 1900 1970ish, Tauilopepe is the central character He is the headman of his aiga and wants to be the most powerful man in his village He is seriously ambitious and as his fortunes rise, he moves further away from his culture to reward himself with a big house, a flushing toilet, whisky, and the ability to send his sons to Western schools.This is a book about greed, misuse of power, the use of religion to influence people and the impact of progress It is a clever book as all the problems are caused by Samoans The colonialists are there, profiteering, acting like royalty, disrespecting Samoan culture, abusing women and becoming drunkards But they are a side show to the problems the Samoans caused themselves.Tauilopepe s son Pepe and his relationship with Samoan culture was the most complex Pepe respected the past and rebelled against progress , his father s wealth and his father s failure to listen to his history A fascinating book


  2. Lilisa Lilisa says:

    Set in Samoa and spanning three generations, I was eagerly looking forward to my first Samoan read While the book provides an interesting look into the culture, history and life in Samoa, I m sad to say I didn t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would The writing didn t captivate or engage me and I found my mind wandering and having to consciously pull myself back into the story Tauilopepe is the central character in the book and is driven by the need for power and money alienating many, Set in Samoa and spanning three generations, I was eagerly looking forward to my first Samoan read While the book provides an interesting look into the culture, history and life in Samoa, I m sad to say I didn t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would The writing didn t captivate or engage me and I found my mind wandering and having to consciously pull myself back into the story Tauilopepe is the central character in the book and is driven by the need for power and money alienating many, including his son Told against the background of colonialism and Christian missionary drive, the book points to the zeal of both ill conceived endeavors that left their lasting stamp on cultures worldwide Some day I may re read this one and hope to enjoy itthan I did this time around


  3. Harry Rutherford Harry Rutherford says:

    I think the blurb gives a pretty good idea of what kind of book this is An epic spanning three generations, Leaves of the Banyan Tree tells the story of a family and community in Western Samoa, exploring on a grand scale such universal themes as greed, corruption, colonialism, exploitation, and revenge Winner of the 1980 New Zealand Wattie Book of the Year Award, it is considered a classic work of Pacific literature.It is, in other words, a Big Novel about Important Things And although it occa I think the blurb gives a pretty good idea of what kind of book this is An epic spanning three generations, Leaves of the Banyan Tree tells the story of a family and community in Western Samoa, exploring on a grand scale such universal themes as greed, corruption, colonialism, exploitation, and revenge Winner of the 1980 New Zealand Wattie Book of the Year Award, it is considered a classic work of Pacific literature.It is, in other words, a Big Novel about Important Things And although it occasionally feels a bit self consciously epic, on the whole I think it pulls it off It s the story of Tauilopepe, a matai in the village of Sapepe I can t think of an English title which is quite equivalent to matai, but it means he is the official head of an extended family, one of three in Sapepe Having been expelled from theological college, Tauilopepe is ambitious, driven at the start of the novel by a resentful sense of underachievement, and convinced of the superiority of modern, European ways of doing things.So the novel is partly about the decline of the traditional Samoan way of life the coming of Western agriculture, a wage based economy, Western buildings, and the loss of influence of the village council, the loss of the old stories But it s also a story of greed, power and dysfunctional family relationships that could take place in a shoe factory in Bradford.On the whole I really liked it it s a successful portrayal of a time and place, Tauilopepe and his son Pepe are both great characters, and the whole thing moves along at a sufficient pace to keep me reading it felt like quite a short 400 pages If I was going to be super picky, I m not completely sure about the ending without wanting to give away too many details, a new character unexpectedly turns up and throws everything up in the air I m not completely convinced by the character, who seemed a bit stagey to me, and that slightly diminished my pleasure in the ending, narratively neat though it is


  4. Bob Newman Bob Newman says:

    Samoa breaks into literatureI have long been interested in Samoa, ever since I wrote a term paper on Samoan culture in my sopho year at college, but I have still not been lucky enough to visit the country Having read Margaret Mead s classic as a young scholar, I felt suspicious as to how she managed to come up with her conclusions when she couldn t speak the language Later works proved my suspicions correct A few years ago I read about a new Samoan movie that had come out called The Or Samoa breaks into literatureI have long been interested in Samoa, ever since I wrote a term paper on Samoan culture in my sopho year at college, but I have still not been lucky enough to visit the country Having read Margaret Mead s classic as a young scholar, I felt suspicious as to how she managed to come up with her conclusions when she couldn t speak the language Later works proved my suspicions correct A few years ago I read about a new Samoan movie that had come out called The Orator I tried to get it via interlibrary loan, only to learn that there was only one copy in the whole USA and that one was not available I have yet to see it I believe it was the first Samoan film made, though I could be wrong The present volume was one of the first Samoan novels written, so I thought it would be worth reading such a landmark Well, all this preliminary chat is to say that I have a long interest in Samoa, but reading Albert Wendt s book did not do much to boost it Sorry, folks, it s just boring While I will certainly not quarrel with his knowledge of his own society, he just doesn t create a very readable story The author had the laudable aim of writing a Samoan novel that would take its place among the works of world literature that Samoans would be literary characters as well as flesh and blood ones not often heard from in world affairs With this goal in mind, he produced many types , he took well deserved swipes at colonial rule and the whites papalagi who dominated Samoa in the 1930s when the events in the novel take place An ambitious younger man plans to build a plantation named Leaves of the Banyan Tree and rise in Samoan society His family, a mistress, rivals, an older mentor friend of his late father s a preacher, and many others appear As in many other novels, and in life ambition forces you to pay a price The next generation may reject your work totally Wendt certainly writes well of human nature, as well as Samoan society a society like others, anything but the romanticized South Sea island culture of Western novelists But there are too many clunker sentences like this one, in which a ne er do well addresses Tauilopepe, the main character I did my best, sir, but all the men had already committed themselves to Malo and his money The chief character asks if Toasa, his father s old friend, knew about this I don t know, sir, perhaps Toasa will put a stop to Malo s flagrant violation of customary practice if he finds out about it Don t you think so, sir Trying to introduce Samoan tradition through the mouths of characters is probably a bad idea I realize that this novel is one of the most famous to come out of the South Pacific, but I found it hard to get through If what we are doing here is reviewing novels and not praising people for introducing their societies through literature, I have to say that this is not a great novel


  5. Alex Alex says:

    This is one of my top five favorite books It takes place in Samoa It is fiction I went to Samoa and had some ugly realizations about the long term effects of imperialism colonialism Instead of committing genocide and rounding up the citizens of Samoa onto reservations which there is no space for , the imperial powers dominated the culture using religion The book is not directly about that, I had extra appreciation for the conquer through religion layer in the landscape of the book and its This is one of my top five favorite books It takes place in Samoa It is fiction I went to Samoa and had some ugly realizations about the long term effects of imperialism colonialism Instead of committing genocide and rounding up the citizens of Samoa onto reservations which there is no space for , the imperial powers dominated the culture using religion The book is not directly about that, I had extra appreciation for the conquer through religion layer in the landscape of the book and its characters The book addresses society in a microcosm of the globe so it does not have the clout of books like the Great Gatsby or 1984 but it is that powerful It is also provides insight into Polynesian issues and cultures


  6. Val Val says:

    The author Albert Wendt was born in Apia, Samoa, and wrote several books drawing on his knowledge of island life The title story is a slow paced family saga about three generations and the history of post colonialism At the time Western Samoa was administered by New Zealand, but their hand rested lightly The store owner who controls the copra trade is a native Samoan, not a representative of a foreign multinational company Tauilopepe, the plantation owner who cuts down the native forest to The author Albert Wendt was born in Apia, Samoa, and wrote several books drawing on his knowledge of island life The title story is a slow paced family saga about three generations and the history of post colonialism At the time Western Samoa was administered by New Zealand, but their hand rested lightly The store owner who controls the copra trade is a native Samoan, not a representative of a foreign multinational company Tauilopepe, the plantation owner who cuts down the native forest to plant cash crops, is another There are land disputes, but between village families, not the villagers and a colonial power It shows the last of the older generation clinging to tradition, the younger one adopting European ways and joining the capitalist economy and the youngest with a sentimental attachment to the past, but little understanding of it.This is deservedly considered a classic in the region and I would recommend it to anyone seeking literature from the islands, but the tendency for nothing much to happen for several chapters means that you do need some patience to stick with it.There are three stories in the book, which are all linked in some way The second one is Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree It is a first person narrative by the dreamy son from the first story while he is dying in a TB hospital and tells of his life from the end of the first book when his father decides he should go to school The language is simple to show that his education level is not high, but he is one of few people from the village to have even that much He starts off as a good student, but then decides he does not like school, his father, his village, working for a living, God, wealth and success, or anything else offered to him He prefers to molest girls, cheat tourists, burn down churches, loot shops, get arrested and go to prison He claims to see this as some sort of ancient warrior protest as a joke He blames his father, although mainly for the wrong things.Pepe has rejected both the traditional way of life of his grandfather and the modern Westernised way of his father, then for good measure he rejects his mother s love as well His grandfather dies hoping that one day he will come back His father finally runs out of patience, but mourns for his lost son His mother dies and he does not go to the funeral He gets a girl who is not a prostitute pregnant, marries her and treats her badly One criminal friend is hung for murder, the other hangs himself If the first book is about becoming a success in the eyes of the world, the second is about becoming a failure there is a cost to both I am not sure if this is supposed to show something about Samoans or not, unless their culture actually is about skiving, drinking, screwing around and beating up women I did not enjoy this story as much as the first, as you can tell.The third and final story, Funerals and Heirs , takes up where the second story ends, with Pepe s father, Tauilopepe, and young son, Lalolagi It is closer to the first story in style and theme, with the focus on family and village life A few of the villagers remember the old legends and the old grandfather who believed in them and taught them, and they remember Pepe fondly from his childhood, when he was a kind boy They also prove that it is possible to remember their traditions and live in the modern world.Lalolagi is not an attractive boy, he is quite selfish and arrogant, but his self confidence coupled with skill at rugby stand him in good stead when he goes to boarding school in New Zealand He becomes very much a part of their culture, not his island one.Tauilopepe is now in his sixties, drinking too much when under stress and with a heart condition Two generations later, he is now from the old fashioned, less educated generation and starting to lose his grip on the village When Samoa becomes independent and most of the New Zealanders go home, a new group of young educated Samoans start to assert control.Lalolagi looks outwards and there is some hope for him, despite his arrogance The other characters are all inward looking and destructive in some way, either towards themselves like Pepe or others like Galupo, or towards the old traditions like Malo and Tauilopepe All the nicer characters are also destroyed in the process Pepe is seen as a hero in people s memories and as being destroyed, although I see him as self destructive and can t go along with the veneration of his memory view spoiler A new character is introduced, Galupo, a con man who pretends to be the illegitimate son of Tauilopepe and the storekeeper s wife from the first book He plays on Tauilopepe s guilt about the affair and the Malo family s ambition to be an important part of the village again Tauilopepe is not entirely convinced by his stories, but many are hide spoiler Galupo is intelligent, educated, hard working and shows himself capable of creating instead of destroying when he rebuilds the plantation after a hurricane and distributes food aid fairly, but chooses to lie and cheat his way to power In this book anyone who is kind or even anyone who loves someone or something is not going to have much reward for it and it makes the whole saga quite depressing.This third story is quite a good one, but I perhaps should have stopped after the first


  7. Audrey Audrey says:

    So I finally got myself to a library and read this book, widely known now as a modern classic of Pacific Literature It s about this seriously ambitious man, Tauilopepe, who decides that he s going to turn his family s matai land into a business just like the Palagis do with their plantations In his unfaltering drive for money and power, he betrays all the people who love him, loses his children his only beloved son, even, rebels against him in a massive way and spends the rest of his lif So I finally got myself to a library and read this book, widely known now as a modern classic of Pacific Literature It s about this seriously ambitious man, Tauilopepe, who decides that he s going to turn his family s matai land into a business just like the Palagis do with their plantations In his unfaltering drive for money and power, he betrays all the people who love him, loses his children his only beloved son, even, rebels against him in a massive way and spends the rest of his life in a painful battle to hold on to the status and material wealth he s won for himself.The story itself is important to Samoans for a number of reasons The way our land relates to our titles is the foundation of our matai system, which in turn is the backbone of our Fa asamoa Tauilopepe s manipulation of matai land for his own benefit is a metaphor for the evolution of our culture under the influence of Christianity and The Palagi who introduced it Prof Wendt also casts a harsh spotlight on some pretty unflattering imperfections in the way we as a people live adultery, rape of the night crawler type , violence, alcoholism, an overall lack of integrity criticisms that I have heard, so often, echoed in the way that we as a people talk about each other This book is also important because it delves into the intricacies not only of the Fa asamoa, but of life in Samoa, without being precious about the way we might be judged as a culture In other words, Wendt tells it like he sees it flaws and all.I learned a lot about Samoa in this book, especially the Samoa of a few decades ago.That s not to say that I enjoyed the education.The characters in the story served their purpose to illustrate Wendt s opinions about what s going on in Samoa but I wanted to feel a stronger connection with them, to really understand why they did the things they did and to haveempathy for them as complex people in complicated situations.And then the ending Don t even get me started on how random that felt It had me wrinkling my eyebrows going, huh The book reads like ponderous, macabre poetry I didn t mind its slow pace so much I like to be able to drink in the moments but it was like an eloquent, 700 page song about the woes of a people corrupted After a while, you either hate all Samoans or begin to believe that Albert Wendt does.I have had the privilege, though, of meeting Prof Wendt a few times most recently last month at a Pacific Literature symposium and of interviewing him once, years ago I remember asking him then who he writes for, as in, who is his audience.He said that he writes for himself and I can see that in Leaves of the Banyan Tree It was probably the only reason I made it to the end of the book I kept reminding myself that this was most likely his way of exorcising some of his own demons about experiences he s had with our people and way of life It was kind of like listening to your mum badmouth an uncle you happen to love You might not agree with the things she s saying because you don t have the same perspective as she does but what can you do How about write your own book about Samoa.Review by Lei Ne emiaArticle Source Book Review Leaves of the Banyan Tree, by Albert Wendt


  8. Naeem Naeem says:

    I read this a few summers ago and cannot believe I failed to write a review of it The result is that my summary will be short It takes you to another place Invites you inside of another culture And shows you what happens to a culture when the impulse of material acquisition is allowed expression A year and a half later, the novel still has me in its grips Powerful, beautiful, and haunting A great book from a masterful writer.


  9. zespri zespri says:

    This is quite a story Three books blend into one, and the family stories are carried through from one to another The narrative is rich and dense, and ideas and words fill the pages This is the story of three generations of a family in Samoa, and the family and its relation to the surrounding community within which it finds itself It is really a sad and tragic story, the patriach of the family chooses wealth and position repeatedly over the well being of his own family, and the consequences This is quite a story Three books blend into one, and the family stories are carried through from one to another The narrative is rich and dense, and ideas and words fill the pages This is the story of three generations of a family in Samoa, and the family and its relation to the surrounding community within which it finds itself It is really a sad and tragic story, the patriach of the family chooses wealth and position repeatedly over the well being of his own family, and the consequences of his choices play out over subsequent generations.I would hate to think that this book is a damning indictment of choosing the palangi way as has been mentioned in previous reviews, but rather that the seeds of destruction lie within each heart, and need only the right circumstances and conditions to grow.There is much to think about in this book, and Albert Wendt opens the Samoan culture to us, warts and all


  10. Lita Lita says:

    This book was my introduction to Pacific Literature Great development of characters and the underlying message is relayed I loved this story of greed, love, and loss.


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