OUR SAMOAN ADVENTURE by Fanny & Robert Louis Stevenson
Kirkus Star

OUR SAMOAN ADVENTURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Stevenson diaries for the years between 1890 and 1894, especially Fanny's which the editor, Charles Neider, recently found and is publishing here in its original form for the first time, make a delightfully absorbing account of their life at Vailima. Principally, the account is Fanny's. But with the care and patience of a devoted editor, Mr. Neider has spliced in Robert's notes as a contrast and a supplement to his very energetic and observant wife's. To set the Vailima days in their proper perspective, the introduction gives a brief survey of the Stevensons' life apart and together- Fanny's first marriage, Robert's struggle with ill health, their meeting and the decision finally to seek the good climate of Samoa. Then the diaries, beginning with their arrival, are together marked by the fairy-tale images they evoke of the splendid tropics and the deep logic with which both regarded their surroundings. As one reads further there is at first a subtle then a growing difference between the accounts. Fanny describes their days with a rambling, avid and perceptive interest in everything- the flowers, the barefoot house-boys, outsiders' opinions, a native political uprising, Robert's work; Robert's notes on the other hand are quicker, almost a recapitulation yet vivid, too, as his swift phrases make a different tally of their life. Familiar as the material is, it has a newness and a fresh authenticity, and richly mirrors the natural warmth and beauty of the Stevensons' south sea years.

Publisher: Harper