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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Afakasi Woman by Lani Wendt Young

The joys, the trials, the tragedies, and the sensibilities of being a woman of Samoa are highlighted in this superb collection. Afakasi Woman is a collection of 16 short stories, written by 2019 Pacific Laureate Lani Wendt Young.

Originally released as a digital collection that won the University of the South Pacific fiction prize, this revised edition includes previously unpublished stories.

Each story is brimming with emotion, offering a unique, engrossing glimpse into the lives of women of the Pacific.

Wendt Young takes readers from tears of laughter to tears of sorrow from one story to the next. 'Don't Tell' is a haunting, gut-wrenching story of abuse, followed immediately by an equally thought-provoking The Coconut Seller. Just when you think your heart can't take anymore, Wendt Young lightens the load in a cutting tale We Love The Samoan People. Her message is as equally as strong as the previous stories, and thought-provoking, but this story is full of sly laughter and a subtle feeling of laughing at you, rather than with you.

Afakasi is used to describe a person of mixed ethnicity. While the title of the book may make you think you must be afakasi to enjoy it or relate to it, nothing could be further from the truth.

Wendt Young isn't afraid to highlight some of the harsher realities, of not just Pacific women but humanity as a whole.There are of course sensitive cultural issues explored, but also issues that touch the very core of every human experience. Stories like Stillborn, that tear at your heart and leave you weeping.

Wendt Young writes with a fresh, original voice. Her stories are excellently crafted, her characters rich and flawed. You can't help but instantly feel like you are there with them.

Afakasi Woman is an incredible tribute to women and their power, especially women of the Pacific. It is a terrific read that shines a spotlight on some uncomfortable truths.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

OneTree House, RRP $29.


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