The Folding Cliffs
By W. S. Merwin
(Alfred A. Knopf, Paperback, 9780375701511, 352pp.)
Publication Date: March 28, 2000
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From a major American poet -- a thrilling story, in verse, of nineteenth-century Hawaii. The story of an attempt by the government to seize and constrain possible victims of leprosy and the determination of one small family not to be taken. A tale of the perils and glories of their flight into the wilds of the island of Kauai, pursued by a gunboat full of soldiers.
A brilliant capturing -- inspired by the poet's respect for the people of these islands -- of their life, their history, the gods and goddesses of their mythic past. A somber revelation of the wrecking of their culture through the exploitative incursions of Europeans and Americans. An epic narrative that enthralls with the grandeur of its language and of its vision.