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Fiction Map of the World – Fiji

by Anna Watt on 27 March 2015, 12:03PM

The word paradise really does get thrown around too freely, but if anywhere in the world is deserving of this description it is Fiji. This tropical island paradise consists of around three hundred separate islands, all positioned in crystal clear waters, and ringed by palm fringed white sandy beaches, lagoons, coral reefs and picturesque islands. The added advantage to taking a trip here is that Fiji has no cities, and produces virtually no pollution.

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The favourites are the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands, which both stretch north from the body of central Fiji, Viti Levu. These islands are the stars of this country, presented to the rest of the world as an idyllic South Sea Eden and provided the cinematic eye candy for Hollywood films like Cast Away and The Blue Lagoon.
Essential Holiday Reading

There are plenty of wonderful books that are set in Fiji, have been written in Fiji, or depict Fijian landscapes. One of the oldest, but still one of the most popular, is In Fiji Islands, by Ronald Wright. It is a non-fiction offering, which provides a great insight into the history, culture, politics, and geography of this island paradise. It is perfectly complemented with personal and intriguing anecdotes and experiences from the author, who has travelled extensively throughout the country. The truly epic World Odyssey, from the World Duology series, written by Lance Morcan, follows the fortunes of three young adventurers as they embark on a grand journey. This story spans sixteen years, and takes in   Native American Indians, Barbary Coast pirates, Aborigines, Maoris and Pacific Islanders.

Notable Fijian Books
You will find a wealth of great novels which feature Fiji as a lively and intriguing central character. A good place to start is either The Trembling of a Leaf, by W. Somerset Maugham, or Typee by Herman Melville. In fact, the former is a collection of South Pacific short stories, based around the wild inconstancy of the sea, and its resemblance to the soul of mankind. If you are looking to enjoy a sprawling and meaningful piece of literature, during your time in Fiji, pick up this classic. Or, you could try another infamous South Pacific novel, Mutiny on the Bounty. This book, written by James Normal Hall and Charles Nordhoff is arguably the most well-known piece of literature to be set in and around this part of the world.    

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Notable Fijian Authors
One of the most popular Fijian authors is Peter Thomson, a Fijian diplomat and UN representative. He wrote both Wild Vanilla and Kava in the Blood, the latter of which describes his experiences of the 1987 coup d’état. It uses the juxtaposition of the political coup with the autobiographical memories of a Fijian childhood and background. It paints an evocative picture of these islands, blending tales of hurricanes and haunted houses, copious kava consumption, dramatic landscapes, and robust characters. After losing his Fijian status, and moving to New Zealand following the coup, he regained his citizenship in 2009, and retains his status as one of the most popular novelists in the country.  

Notable Fijian Films
This country has served as the backdrop for scores of high profile movies and television shows, with the most recent being a season of CBS smash hit Survivor. It took place on the northern coast of Vanau Levu, in 2007. A Hollywood hit called The Blue Lagoon is one of the most well-known productions to have occurred here. It starred Brooke Shields at the age of fourteen – she would later become a world famous actress. A sequel to the movie, Return to the Blue Lagoon, was filmed on Taveuni in 1991. The adventure epic Castaway was filmed on Modriki Island, with star Tom Hanks reportedly riding a helicopter out to the island for filming each day. This last offering contains some truly beautiful shots of the Fijian landscape, and is ideal for anybody looking to enjoy an emotional tale of survival and human endeavour.    

Essential Holiday Listening
The music of Fiji blends the traditional Melanesian and Polynesian sounds, and a lot of Fijian culture is influenced by these two cultures. However, other cultures, including the Indo-Fijians, have played a large role the development of Fijian music too. The genres of folk music, traditional dance, and multi-instrumental world music are popular here. The songs of Fiji are upbeat and lively, with beautiful rhythms and harmonies, and even the more modern music styles manage to convey aspects of the culture, society, and history of this remarkable set of islands. Due to its burgeoning Indian population Indians have contributed an awful lot to the music in this country – try Laisa Vulakoro for an uplifting blend of rock, folk and disco sounds.

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Notable Fijian Musicians
The genres of pop and disco are popular in Fiji, and both Nuku Katudrau and Danny Costello are well-known artists. In fact, the latter is considered to be one of the most influential musicians to have come out of this country, and a respected pioneer when it comes to bringing Fijian artistry to the wider world. The aforementioned Laisa Vulakoro is attributed with creating Vude, during the eighties, a style of music which combines Fijian island sounds and traditions, with country, rock and roll, and thumping disco beats. She has released a total of sixteen albums, so has had a fairly prolific career. In the nineties, she performed with high profile Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes.

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