1 thought on “The Crocodile

  1. ‘Tobacco and sugar, two of the white man’s most powerful bits of magic.’This novel is set in Papua New Guinea in the years around World War II, at a time when colonization was changing traditional Papuan life. One of those changes was an expectation that a Western education would solve most (if not all) social problems and one of the consequences was an increased migration of people into towns. Another impact, unfortunately, was that the Moveave people became caught up in the war itself.Th [...]

  2. From Casual Debris.The first novel in English to have been published from a native of Papua New Guinea is Vincent Eri's The Crocodile. Set before and during the World War II New Guinea campaign which saw the invasion of the nation by Japanese forces, the novel centres primarily on a young man, Hoiri, and his growing awareness of the colonial world in which he lives. Though Hoiri is the main character of the work, the story focuses primarily on the broad effects of Australia's occupation, and on [...]

  3. It's a shame there are not more authors from the South Pacific as the folklore is very interesting. Lots of little tidbits buried in this story.

  4. Let me first say that The Crocodile isn’t a great book. It lacks narrative flow and the dialogue is clunky and often expository. The book follows its central character from the age of seven until some time in adulthood. It starts and ends at seemingly random places, and there is no real plot—no more thematic consistency than might occur in an actual life. Eri also employs none of the cues that Western novelists use to indicate the passage of time (though to be fair I wasn’t entirely sure i [...]

  5. Published in 1970, The Crocodile was the first novel written by a New Guinean. A simple, fast-paced, and surprisingly affecting story, it is set in PNG in the colonial era during WWII. The book follows the life of young Hoiri as he attempts to navigate the transition to adulthood and understand the new world of the white man. Many of the other characters are stereotypical, but since we see the world through Hoiri's naive eyes it doesn't matter as much as it could. The story is essentially tragic [...]

  6. An interesting read. I don't think it's the greatest novel ever, but it is a good story with lots of insight into local culture. (The exact culture/language group Hoiri belongs to is never mentioned, at least as far as I noticed. The region is mentioned, though, which for people in the know about Papua New Guinea is probably enough to know.) There are many observations of white people (especially white Australians) from an indigenous perspective.One interesting aspect of this book was its handli [...]

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