TODAY IS FOREVER by Julian Hillas


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When today is forever, as it is for Mr. Hillas on his South Sea island paradise, then there is no today. One advantage of civilization is that when tomorrow finally comes, it comes with relish. No such though bothers Hillas. He has been in the Cook Islands since 1930. They belong to New Zealand but under United Nations prodding they should receive full self-government by 1965, thus becoming the smallest nation in the world. Hillas believes that the islands are materially and politically unprepared and are potentially dangerous areas. But this concern is to belie the generally Milleresque (Henry) bohemianism and voice behind Hillas' memoir. While he presents a great deal of sex (and wisdom from the side of his mouth), it's never erotic, since island women aren't really as erotic as legend suggests. Hillas himself, a storekeeper of small means, has been married to a native girl, Ra Ra, for twenty years and has seen to the education of his three children. He was sitting in a Sydney movie house watching a South Seas movie when he decided to toss over his first wife and head for Tahiti. (Their divorce, in the islands, cost him $1.75). Five days out of New Zealand, going one-way with no money, he stopped off in the Cook Islands to stretch his legs. He never made Tahiti. An old friend button-holed him to help work a broken-down plantation, but soon he began drifting about the islands for himself and fell into storekeeping. Native customs occupy him and he relates them both with frankness and vulgar good humor.

Publisher: Doubleday