Michael Fitzgerald’s debut novel The Pacific Room
(Transit Lounge $29.95) tells of the last days of Tusitala, ‘the teller of
tales’, as Robert Louis Stevenson became known in Samoa where he chose to die.
In 1892 Girolamo Nerli travels from Sydney by steamer to Apia, with the
intention of capturing something of Jekyll and Hyde in his portrait of the
famous author. Nerli’s presence sets in train a disturbing sequence of events.
More than a century later, art historian Lewis Wakefield comes to Samoa to
research the painting of Tusitala’s portrait by the long-forgotten Italian
On hiatus from his bipolar medication, Lewis is freed
to confront the powerful reality of all the desires and demons that R. L.
Stevenson couldn’t control. Lewis’s personal journey is shadowed by the story
of the lovable Teuila, a so-called fa‘afafine (‘in
the manner of a woman’), and the spirit of Stevenson’s servant boy,
Set in an evocative tropical landscape haunted by the lives and spirits
which drift across it, The
Pacific Room is both a love letter to Samoa and a lush and tender
exploration of artistic creation, of secret passions and merging dualities.
Available 1 July at all good bookstores .
RRP - A29.95 - Transit Lounge Publishing, Melbourne
Author pic right.