Chantal Spitz: L’île des rêves écrasés (Island of Shattered Dreams)


The latest addition to my website is Chantal Spitz‘s L’île des rêves écrasés (Island of Shattered Dreams), the first novel written by a native Tahitian. Spitz originally wrote this novel as a testament for her children and it is a highly political novel. Though it tells the story of a Tahitian family (though one with English blood), it is concerned with both the myths and culture of Tahiti (both myths and poetry abound in the novel). More particularly, it is very opposed to the French colonisation of Tahiti and, even more so, the siting of the French nuclear missile system in Tahiti, something which Spitz continues to oppose. We follow the family from the 1930s, when Tematua goes off to France to help the Motherland, of which he knows very little, to fight the German invader, of which he knows even less. The family continue their lives, albeit under French influence. However, when the nuclear missile system arrives and Tematua’s son has an affair with the French woman responsible for the nuclear missile system, everything changes. It is an enjoyable book, which gives us an excellent insight into both Tahitian culture and politics.

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