Book reviews: September 2013

From Ballina with love—Up up and away by Gary Faulks
Inspector Metau: The Case of the Angry Councillor by Philip Fitzpatrick
The Pomong U’tau of Dreams: A Collection of Bougainvillean Poetry by Leonard Fong Roka
Raitman & Cooks Paradise in Peril by Francis Nii Fitman

From Ballina With Love—Up Up and Away by Gary Faulks
ISBN 9781742843629 Paperback, Publisher Bookpal, Brisbane 2013.
Gary Faulks, member of PNGAA and former General Manager, Ballina Shire, has released a book regarding his recollections and experiences during a long career in local government service at Ballina, Kempsey, Moree, Condobolin and Woodburn. The book also includes true accounts of overseas projects in Papua New Guinea, one of which involved the murder of his trainee at Lae City and the riots of the Sandline Affair in 1997, Porgera Gold Mine, Japan Manager Exchange, USA Study Tour and Tuvalu in the Central Pacific.
Gary Faulks was born and raised in Ballina when the town had a population of about 3500, many of the streets were gravel and you would occasionally see a horse and cart plodding about. Kerr Street was a track and Cherry Street was the Pacific Highway. He attended Ballina High School and later studied local government at Mitchell College of Advanced Education at Bathurst. He is a Fellow of the Local Government Managers Association.
With an aviation flavour the book has an interesting section on the history of aviation in Ballina including Ballina Airpark, Ballina Airport, Ballina Aero Club Inc. and Ballina Ultralight Flying Club.
The story is not a complete account or a history book but covers a wide range of topics and is a valuable reference concerning the period of Local Government in Ballina and Ballina Shire since 1973.
The book includes a reference to over 400 people and has over 100 photographs.
The book is available on ebooks Kindle, Sony, Kobo and Barnes & Noble or just do a google search using the title From Ballina With Love.
Contact Gary Faulks: fromballinawithlove@bigpond.com Mobile 0418 663 666 Telephone: 02 66 86 2620

Opportunities for writers in Papua New Guinea set to widen
It is well known that publishing opportunities for books with a Papua New Guinean theme are limited. For writers in Papua New Guinea the problem is the lack of local publishers. Outside Papua New Guinea and especially in Australia the problem is public disinterest. In short, there is no money to be made from books about Papua New Guinea.
This doesn’t mean that good books are not being written. In Papua New Guinea the recent advent of the annual Crocodile Prize for literature has uncovered a wealth of talented writers. Occasionally you may also see a book self-published by a Papua New Guinean writer.
In Australia there is a small but steady stream of memoirs and fiction penned by people with past experience in Papua New Guinea. These books also tend to be self-published or published by small boutique publishers. The books never make much money and sales seldom cover the cost of production. The books are produced through a love of writing or a need to share experiences. The profit motive doesn’t figure in any but the most naïve writer’s calculations.
Recently, programs like Amazon’s Create Space have, for the first time, offered opportunities for writers in both Papua New Guinea and Australia that they have never had before. Under these programs it is possible to self-publish at minimal or no cost.
Worldwide, Amazon has about 60% of the e-book market and about 25% of the market for printed books. If you ignore the issues of globalisation and the growth of multi-national monopolies this is good news for writers, especially in places like Papua New Guinea. With that sort of market share, Amazon is a great place to sell a book. As an added bonus they pay royalty rates that conventional publishers cannot match.
Here are three books recently published and available online through Amazon with Papua New Guinean themes.

Raitman & Cooks Paradise in Peril by Francis Nii Fitman
Pukpuk Publications, Brisbane 2013 ISBN 978 0 9871321 3 0
In a society where traditional culture is rapidly breaking down and corruption and greed have become a way of life, the boundaries between what is legal and what is criminal are blurred and stretched to the limit. For the brothers Rasta Fitman and Abe Raitman Yobai and their cousin Ongi Cooks Diani, the only way they can see out of a meaningless and poverty stricken future in the village is to turn to crime. Using the proceeds of a daring heist they enter the dark world of drug running. Soon they are joined by an Australian and two Asian businessmen. Life begins to look good but how long can it last? This novel is a chronicle of the times with a very distinctive Papua New Guinean voice.

Inspector Metau: The Case of the Angry Councillor by Philip Fitzpatrick
Pukpuk Publications Brisbane 2013 ISBN 978 0 9871321 2 3
With only a couple of years to go before he retires Inspector Hari Metau is avoiding headquarters and heading for his favourite coffee shop in his battered old Land Rover when he discovers the body of a local ward councillor in the shallows off Ela Beach.
The subsequent investigation takes the inspector and his young offsider through the labyrinths of Port Moresby’s squatter settlements all the way up to the murky corridors of Papua New Guinea’s corrupt political establishment.
When Hari gets too close to the truth he is arbitrarily suspended from his job. Undaunted, he presses on to a surprising end.
This novel is an intricate examination of the many problems, both social and political, that currently bedevil Papua New Guinea; a country on the cusp of an enormous resources boom but still riven by the old tribal traditions of sorcery and payback.

The Pomong U’tau of Dreams: A Collection of Bougainvillean Poetry by Leonard Fong Roka
Pukpuk Publications Brisbane 2013 ISBN 978 0 9871321 4 7
Bougainville is an island in the Solomons chain. It is an autonomous province of Papua New Guinea but has a long history of struggle for independence and self-determination. In 1988 it engaged in a war of independence during which a massive Australian mine was shut down. The struggle slipped into a civil war resulting in the loss of 10-15000 Bougainvillean lives.
A peace agreement was negotiated in 1997 and the islanders are soon to hold a referendum to decide their political future.
This collection of poetry comes from a Bougainvillean writer who survived the war, got an education and now reflects on his island’s culture and his own personal dreams for his island home.

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