The Book of Puka-Puka - Robert Dean Frisbie


The Book of Puka-Puka - Robert Dean Frisbie


In 1924, Robert Frisbie arrived on the island of Puka-Puka, one of the most remote in the South Pacific, to run a trading post. Within months he had learned the language and become absorbed into the ways of its ancient, indigenous community – fishing, picnicking, swimming, sleeping and falling in love. Fortunately for us he also had a pitch-perfect ear for stories.

Before the book is done, we feel the power of the surf and the coral reefs, hear death chants and witness thirty torch-lit canoes setting out to net flying fish at night. Frisbie’s interest in and love for the culture of this island and its inhabitants are infectious.

‘The most graceful, poetic and sensitive writer ever to have reported on the islands.’ James Michener

‘He immortalized the island. It is his most endearing and most original book.’  Brandan Oswald

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The Book of Puka Puka: A Lone Trader in the South Pacific
ISBN: 978-1-78060-141-0   
Format: 256pp demi pb
Place: Cook Islands, Southern Pacific

Author Biography

Robert Dean Frisbie was born in Ohio (1896) but his health was crippled after fighting in the First World War and a doctor informed him that another North American winter would be his last.  In 1920, he sailed for the Southern Pacific with a library of books, a desire to live and an ambition to write.  His first job, aged 24, was managing a plantation in Tahiti from where he began to explore the scattered islands. In 1924 he travelled out to Puka-Puka, where he ran a store for A.B. Macdonald.  Over the next four years he wrote a series of twenty-nine articles for Atlantic Monthly, which were later gathered together to create The Book of Puka-Puka.