Chris Kilham's new book, KAVA: Medicine Hunting in Paradise, from Park
Street Press (ISBN 0-89281-640-6).
THE COCONUT BOOK, by Richard Maynard, is a haunting, riveting novel about a man who is shipwrecked on a barren Pacific island with only a small paperback book to write down his thoughts. Which he does, on the empty margins of each page. The book is discovered years later and an attempt is made to find the person who wrote the diary that makes up most of this book.
In the protagonist's stuggle to live, the priorities of his life are suddenly uprooted:
Within the confines of my island, ambition contracts, hopes and plans become miniscule, intruding little into tomorrow. The decision to create a flame and light a cigarette is one of the major convulsions of mind. It is the momentous event of the day...Bit by bit, the protagonist begins to go crazy. He tries to create goals, find a meaning to his imprisonment. But Nature has other plans. At first he prayed for just a little rain. And then his prayers were answered. And answered again. And again and again.
This is a brief novel, only 174 pages long. Plan to read it in one sitting --- it won't let you go.
It's out of print, but you should look for it because it's worth the extra effort to find a copy. Check your local library if you can't find it in a bookstore. Reading THE COCONUT BOOK is an intense experience that will stay with you for a long time afterwards. It's the kind of book that makes you think, "What would I do if I were abandoned on a barren island? What would I do to survive?"
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