THE REEF GIRL by Zane Grey


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Zane Grey's last novel, rejected by his publisher at his death in 1939, was indeed too ""daring"" for its day, in fact more daring than Maugham's Moon and Sixpence. Grey had spent some ten years in Polynesia, and he decided to present an accurate picture of white/native relations, albeit embedded in a romance. What happens is as unexpected as if Maugham sat down to write West of the Pecos or Riders of the Purple Sage. He'd have put in a lot more gunfire than Grey might think necessary, and Grey does the same in reverse. Donald Perth, a writer, comes to Tahiti with his fianceÉ Winifred and her mother. One hot night Winifred strips to the moonlit buff and cries to Donald, ""Take me, take me!"" But he doesn't--he suddenly thinks she's acting like that whore Faaone, the ravishing half-white, half-native daughter of Bennet-Stokes, an Englishman. Then a native informs him he's being cuckolded and, by heaven, Don finds Winifred flagrante delicto with a big native stud--whom he harpoons to death. Hiding out, Don is eventually joined by Faaone--with pregnant results. But Bennet-Stokes wants daughter Faaone for his own bedmate and, to avoid her father's revenge on Don, she goes to bed with Dad--but during his drunken stupor she gives him a needle full of liquid drained from a leper's sores. Meanwhile, Don's first novel is a smash back home (it's about Faaone), so he tries to run off with her. But as their boat pulls out of Papeete harbor, she throws off her Western clothes (these natives!) and dives overboard. Don cries ""Let the publishers come to me!"" and dives after her. Zane, Zane, the frangipani must have gone to your head!

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1977
Publisher: Harper & Row