One Big Damn Puzzler by John Harding

perplexus-loves-one-big-damn-puzzler

The Beaches had no spare money to put into improving Sandy’s appearance, a project that, let’s face it, could have proved a bottomless money pit.

Managua is working hard translating Shakespeare’s Hamlet into pidgen English the people of his island will appreciate, when a white man lands on the beach. The man is William, an American lawyer who has come to gather information about those who have been injured by mines that the American army left scattered around parts of the island. He has also come to ask questions about a woman named Pilua, Mangua’s supposedly dead wife. If William finds Pilua, Managua fears it will lead to the end of the islanders’ culture and beliefs. He enlists the resident anthropologist, Lucy from England, who shares his fears and together they do their best to hinder William’s search until he decides to give up and go away. But will Managua be able to keep his secret hidden forever on such a small island, or will his fears come true, turning their culture upside down.

I really enjoyed this book! I often found myself laughing quietly through the night, trying my best not to wake my roommates. It’s full of enjoyable misunderstandings as William’s western customs and American english clashes with that of the islanders’. William also has OCD, another source of entertainment as the islanders have never witnessed such a thing and William is forced into situations that force him to leap far, far outside his comfort zone. There’s also a bit of a love story, for a little added oomph. Towards the end it gets a little preachy, dealing with globalization and the idea that ‘west knows best’, but all in all, it was a fun read.

He’d forgotten how refreshing it was to lift your butt to the breeze.

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