Where We Once Belonged

by Sia Figiel | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0908597274 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Captainsdoxy of Waikanae, Wellington Province New Zealand on 9/2/2007
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19 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Captainsdoxy from Waikanae, Wellington Province New Zealand on Sunday, September 02, 2007
"'I' does not exist. I am not. My self belongs not to me because 'I' is always 'we', is a part of the 'aiga...a part of the nu'u, a part of Samoa.

Alofa Filigia is 13 and lives in the village of Malaefouin Samoa. Growing up in the village, she learns to come to terms with violence, womanhood and her own personal sense of identity."


Journal Entry 2 by Captainsdoxy from Waikanae, Wellington Province New Zealand on Saturday, September 29, 2007
A challenging read as there was a fair amount written in Samoan that I did not understand. Some sections read like a regular story, some are more like written down dreams so they make less sense. Overall not a book I particularly took to; I think it would resonate far more with Samoan/pacific island readers who can better understand the culture.

Journal Entry 3 by Captainsdoxy from Waikanae, Wellington Province New Zealand on Saturday, September 29, 2007
Sending on to a friend in the UK for the Olympic Challenge.

Journal Entry 4 by blackwidow1971 from Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom on Thursday, November 29, 2007
Safely received from Captainsdoxy for me to read as part of the Olympic Challenge. There's some writing in the front which looks like it might be the author's signature!

Journal Entry 5 by blackwidow1971 from Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I really enjoyed this book! I found the young female characters believable, sympathetic and strong. The author really brought out their sense of humour too. She says she wanted to "deromanticise Western perceptions of Pacific Islands women" and in the book, it is explicitly stated that they aren't the way they are portrayed by Gauguin and I feel she definitely succeeded in this aim. To me, the women in Gauguin's pictures always look grumpy and sulky. Now I know they were all really laughing inside (probably at him)!

I also recently really enjoyed "Frangipani" by Celestine Hitiura Vaite from Tahiti so I will definitely seek out more women writers from this part of the world.

This would have got 8 out of 10 if it had had a glossary. I agree with Captain's Doxy on the amount of Samoan in the book. The meaning of some phrases became clear as you read on, but not most.

Counts as Samoa for the Olympic Challenge.

Journal Entry 6 by wingLeishaCamdenwing from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Wednesday, March 19, 2008
This arrived in the mail from England today, along with two other books for my 'a book from every country' challenge. Thank you so much, blackwidow!! This is very much appreciated. It will take me a little while to get these books read but I will definitely read them, and journal my thoughts on them. :-)

Thank you so much!!

Journal Entry 7 by wingLeishaCamdenwing from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Sunday, May 03, 2009
I've read this book now, and I really enjoyed the experience. It was a very unusual read for me ... of course I haven't read much Samoan literature previously. Or, in fact, any. :-) So for me this book was quite original and unusual. The story was pretty sad, with some hopefulness also, but the main 'tone' in the work was quite sad. Good characters. I know very little about Samoan society and culture, so I'm not able to judge whether the setting is believable, but to my ignorant eyes it seemed very credible. The author seems to know her setting very well.

There is some use of Samoan language in the novel, I of course understood absolutely nothing of this, so I just took it as some local color. :-) There isn't a lot of it though at any one time, and IMO it doesn't impede the flow of the story.

Overall a very worthwhile read. I'm very glad I got the chance to read it.

This book counts as Samoa in my 'a book from every country' lifetime challenge.

Journal Entry 8 by wingLeishaCamdenwing at BC Meetup, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, May 03, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (5/3/2009 UTC) at BC Meetup, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases

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This book went home with Jannike from meetup this afternoon. It'll be so interesting to hear what she thinks of it. :-) Happy reading!! :-)

Journal Entry 9 by Jannike from -- wild release somewhere in Oslo, Oslo fylke Norway on Thursday, May 07, 2009
I am very curious about this book. Samoan litterature is not something I ever have been exposed to before. Thanks to BookCrossing I get the chance to read this book, which I otherwise never would have discovered.

Journal Entry 10 by Jannike from -- wild release somewhere in Oslo, Oslo fylke Norway on Sunday, September 20, 2009
The problem with reading about a culture you do not know anything about, is that you have so few references, and therefore it is difficult to take in all the nuances in the communication between the persons. (Some of it is in samoan language....) But I enjoyed the book, and felt that it gave me a taste of the Samoan way of life, as it was.

Journal Entry 11 by Jannike at -- wild release somewhere in Oslo, Oslo fylke Norway on Sunday, September 20, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (9/20/2009 UTC) at -- wild release somewhere in Oslo, Oslo fylke Norway

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Returned to Leisha Camden.

Journal Entry 12 by wingLeishaCamdenwing from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Sunday, September 20, 2009
The book's back home. We'll see what I'll do with it now. :-)

Journal Entry 13 by wingLeishaCamdenwing at Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Monday, December 16, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (12/17/2013 UTC) at Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway

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Finally this book will do some traveling again ... !! I can't believe it's been sitting on my shelf for so long. It will now make a short journey to my Christmas buddy Askeladda who is reading books from all around the world as a personal challenge. She doesn't have Samoa listed on her bookshelf so I'm hoping this will be new to her. Happy reading and merry Christmas!! :-)

Journal Entry 14 by wingAskeladdawing at Skien, Telemark fylke Norway on Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Christmas present from Leisha Camden. Thank you very much! You are quite right, Leisha Camden, I have never read a book from Samoa! So I started to look into the book as the very last thing I did on Christmas eve. Looking foreward to read it!

Journal Entry 15 by wingAskeladdawing at Skien, Telemark fylke Norway on Saturday, January 11, 2014
Some parts of the book is real good. It is always interesting to read books from other parts of the world. I know nothing of Samoa, the book gave me some knowledge, and I have read some more about the history for these Islands to Get a better understanding of the book.

I could have liked to known more about samoian legends and myths. The storyteller is mostly a girl of 13, but some part of the book tells us the myth of how Samoa was created.

I reacted strongly on how commen it is in the book to use beating in the upbringing of children. In one strong story Alofas mother demand that her father must show his authority by beating up the girl. Alofas mother herself is regulary beeing beaten from her housebond. Not knowing nothing of Samoa I'm wondering, is this really so? That is the most unfamiliar way of thinking to me.

I agree with other readers, I do miss a glossary! So now I have tried to PM a bookcrosser on Samoa, asking if it's possible to get some verses translated into english. So Let's wait and see, maybe I will be able to put a translation into the book before it travels on to new readers?

Where we once belonged av Sia Figiel.
korte fortellinger/ episoder fra en oppvekst til ei jente på 13 år på Samoa, litt om hennes bakgrunn dvs.foreldre og besteforeldres historier. Gjennom fortellingene, ganske muntlige i formen, blir vi kjent med samoisk kultur og tradisjon. Samtidig får vi del i øyas skapelsesmyte. For en som ikke kjenner denne øy statens historie og kultur synes jeg boka virker å gi en god innføring. Den beste delen av boka synes jeg er de sidene der hun forteller om at 'jeg' alltid er 'vi' på Samoa. Det er dette som har gitt navn til boka,
Det mest plagsomme å lese om er hvordan vold er den store oppdrageren i den oppveksten boka skildrer. Det er forventet at en mann slår sin kone og sine barn. Boka er skrevet i 1996 og forfatteren er født i 1967, jeg vil anta at det hun beskriver er hentet fra hennes egen oppvekst, og at boka har enkelte selvbiografiske trekk. Isåfall er den voldkulturen hun beskriver relativt oppdatert - og en stor kontrast til det bilde turistreklamen tegner av Samoa. Interessant lesning for alle som vil lese bøker fra alle verdens land.

Hvis det er interesse for det kan jeg sende boka som en stråle. Si fra på det skandinaviske forum om du er interessert i å lese den.

Journal Entry 16 by wingAskeladdawing at Skien, Telemark fylke Norway on Saturday, January 18, 2014
Haugtussa is interested in reading the book. I will post in the international forum to see if anyone else is interested in participating in a ray.

Edit: the book found more readers! These are the participates in an international bookray 20.05.14:

Mailing list is below... if you need more than a couple of weeks to read the book and pass it on, please just make a JE to let us know, so that we know it's not lost or stalled!

pam99- Scotland - international -------> done
Scruffycaz - UK - international ---------> done
J4shaw - within Australia ----------------> done
book-a-neer - within Australia or NZ----> done
Billbooks - Australia and international--> done
Edwardstreet - NZ and international-----> done
Arvores- Portugal and Europe ------------> done
Andrasthe- Austria/EU (int.if needed) ---> done
Meg72- UK/EU -------------------------------> done
sedna5213-German/France - international--> done
GronnLivsstil - Norway ----------------------> done
Haugtussa- Norway and Scandinavia--------> done
gunvor- Denmark/Scandinavia and Europe (int. if needed) - > done
okyrhoe - Greece - international-------> skipped, not anwered PMs.
Erishkigal - US - (prefer within US )----> the book is on its way here

Journal Entry 17 by wingAskeladdawing at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, January 25, 2014

Released 6 yrs ago (1/25/2014 UTC) at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases

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The book takes off to the first participates in the international book ray.

Til deg som finner boka sier jeg: velkommen til bookcrossing!
Takk for at du tok vare på boka!

Skriv gjerne en kommentar JE (journal entry) så vet vi at boka er trygt hos deg. Jeg blir glad om du vil skrive hvor du fant boken. Senere kan du skrive hva du synes om boken når du har lest den.

Slipp den gjerne fri igjen, eller gi den til en venn. Da kan du også skrive hvordan du lar boken reise videre, slik at vi kan følge den på reisen. På det skandinaviske forumet deler vi gleden over bøkenes vandring i verden.

Du kan være anonym om du vil. Eller du kan bli medlem (join). Det er gratis. Din e -post adresse blir ikke oppgitt eller videreformidlet til noen. Du får ikke spam. Som medlem kan du følge boka videre reiserute. Du må gjerne referere til meg, Askeladda, som den som gjorde deg kjent med BC.

Under fanen 'Samfunn' vil du finne bokinteresserte mennesker fra mange land. Det er skandinaviske og internasjonale forum hvor du kan delta i bokpraten. Bookcrossere er generøse, vennlige mennesker, bare prøv!

Håper du vil like boka du har funnet!
Les den, skriv et lite bokslipp notat og la boka reise videre!

Journal Entry 18 by pam99 at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom on Friday, January 31, 2014
book arrived safely and was waiting for me when I got home from work last night. I'm halfway through another book right now and look forward to starting this one over the weekend! I've been reading a few books from this part of the world recently as part of the 666 challenge (just finished one set on the Solomon Islands) but I don't think I've read anything from Samoa before.

Journal Entry 19 by pam99 at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom on Sunday, February 02, 2014
a fascinating book, written from the perspective of a Samoan woman and drawing upon autobiography, myth and tradition. I didn't understand it all but that didn't take away at all from the rhythm and poetry of the language and storytelling.

have pm'd scruffykaz for an address and should have this book on its way soon.

Journal Entry 20 by pam99 at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Released 6 yrs ago (2/4/2014 UTC) at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom

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on its way to the next reader - enjoy!

Journal Entry 21 by Scruffykaz at Rainham, Kent United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Arrived this morning. Can't wait to start reading!!

Journal Entry 22 by Scruffykaz at Rainham, Kent United Kingdom on Friday, February 21, 2014
As much as I want to, I can't get into this book. I'm sure it is a good book but it just isn't engaging my interest. For me, the bits written in Somoan interrupt the story as I don't understand them.

I'm messaging the next on the list and will send it to them once I have their details.

Journal Entry 23 by Scruffykaz at Rainham, Kent United Kingdom on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (4/22/2014 UTC) at Rainham, Kent United Kingdom

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Sending to the next on the list today.

Apologies for the delay

Journal Entry 24 by wingJ4shawwing at Darwin, Northern Territory Australia on Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This book arrived with me today. Thank you for sharing this with the BC Community Askeladda, and thank you to Scruffykaz for sending it all the way from the UK (I know its not cheap, and we Aussie BCers do appreciate the European and USA/CA BCers being generous with their willingness to ship international).

I am afriad I have a bit on at the moment, but I shouldn't hold this ore that 6 - 8 weeks or so.

Link to the forum thread is HERE

Update 15 June 2014: Started reading this today

Journal Entry 25 by wingJ4shawwing at Darwin, Northern Territory Australia on Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (6/19/2014 UTC) at Darwin, Northern Territory Australia

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Ok, this book totally lost me.
Not sure if it was the Samoan language creaping into the English text, or whether it was down to it just not making sense with its mythical/fantasy excerpt, which then swifty swung into chapters focusing on abused and racially discriminated against women.
I found the whole thing confusing. Way way too many characters that made no impact on me enough to be able to tell you who they were, how they are linked, or why they featured in the story.


Thanks for sharing, I'm glad to have experienced a book writen by a Samoan writer. I'm not sure I'll try another though!

This one is travelling on to Book-a-Neer today, whose address I got earlier in the week.

Journal Entry 26 by wingbook-a-neerwing at Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Arrived today. Thanks.

Edit: I have the same feeling as the others regarding the use of local language. It made it tricky to understand what the author was actually saying and I had to put my own interpretation to it.

Journal Entry 27 by wingbook-a-neerwing at Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Friday, July 04, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (7/4/2014 UTC) at Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia

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Handed over to billbooks who is next in line.

Journal Entry 28 by Billbooks at Malvern East, Victoria Australia on Friday, July 04, 2014
Book is safely in my hands and will help with my 666 challenges which will definitely please the next person after me

Journal Entry 29 by Billbooks at Malvern East, Victoria Australia on Monday, July 07, 2014
Put this on top of my pile to read because i have another book to send to Edwardstreet. I have to agree with most comments a better incite into the Samoan culture would help and the cross overs in language and mythology perhaps I'm getting too old and confused more readily. The interesting/frightening aspect was the strong religious presence in Samoa with a strong domestic violence - the abuse was fearful and as usual the hypocrisy of the men well I want say anymore. Glad to have read it -it's what I love about Bookcrossing to widen my reading horizon as much as possible.

Journal Entry 30 by wingEdwardstreetwing at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Friday, July 25, 2014
a second letter box surprise thanks again Bill .I have tried tocontact the next two readers, no response, hence the delays moving it on.

off to Portugal I have now been contacted.
Re the book, living in multi cultural New Zealand I can cope with much of the language and the cultural concepts. However this is the second book I have read by this author and I feel she does Samoans a disservice- such a negative portrayal of her people.

Journal Entry 32 by wingArvoreswing at Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo Portugal on Saturday, September 06, 2014
It's with me now.
Thank you all for sharing.

I'll read it as soon as I finish the one in hands.
Warm greetings to all.

Journal Entry 33 by wingArvoreswing at Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo Portugal on Monday, November 03, 2014
As much as it sounds appealing to me to cover West Samoa on my challenge "1 country - one author", I've decided that it doesn't make sense to spend more time with just an average book. You know what they say: "so many books, so little time". And I have lots of them waiting.

I'm really sorry for keeping it with me for such a long time. I really gave it a chance, you know? :-)

Thank you so much for sharing. I'll contact the next reader straight away.

Warm greetings to all.

Journal Entry 34 by wingArvoreswing at Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo Portugal on Friday, November 07, 2014
Sent to Andrasthe today

Journal Entry 35 by Andrasthe at Klagenfurt, Kärnten Austria on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Will be sending this onwards asap.

Rarely have I encountered a book with a title that changed its meaning so often. With every new scene, every tidbit or information about Samoa and its people, what I understood to be the message became a little different from what I had understood before.

I enjoyed this book, although I am sure I didn't get all aspects by reading it one time. There have also been some passages that left me wondering or even confused. Still an interesting experience and a new tale from somewhere else.

thanks for including me

Journal Entry 36 by Meg72 at Ílhavo, Aveiro Portugal on Thursday, February 26, 2015
Book has arrived, thank you!

Journal Entry 37 by Meg72 at Ílhavo, Aveiro Portugal on Saturday, March 14, 2015
I read this book until the end to see if I could find some meaning in the structure, in the characters, in the native vocabulary used… But, nothing, this book was a total disappointment!

The plot was confusing, mixing real life, dreams and local folklore. The characters were rude, violent and plain obnoxious and the use of Samoan expressions, without the notes explaining the meaning, just made me ask constantly “what on earth is this?”

I confess it was a very bad experience…

Journal Entry 38 by Meg72 at Ílhavo, Aveiro Portugal on Monday, March 16, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (3/16/2015 UTC) at Ílhavo, Aveiro Portugal

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Going to the next bookcrosser on the list.

Journal Entry 39 by wingsedna5213wing at Charlottenburg, Berlin Germany on Monday, March 30, 2015
The book arrived safely in stormy Berlin. Thanks for sending it over Meg72!


Well, it could have been an interesting book, but the way it was written makes it a rather challenging read. As mentioned before, there is too much text in Samoan without an explanation.

Journal Entry 40 by wingsedna5213wing at Tiergarten, Berlin Germany on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (4/28/2015 UTC) at Tiergarten, Berlin Germany

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The book is on its way to the next reader!

Journal Entry 41 by GronnLivsstil at Bryne, Rogaland fylke Norway on Saturday, May 02, 2015
Thanks a bunch, I got it in the mail today. I just need to finish another book, but I'll read it as soon as I can.

Journal Entry 42 by GronnLivsstil at Bryne, Rogaland fylke Norway on Thursday, May 07, 2015
It was an okay read, but I have read better books than this one.

I'll PM the next in line and hopefully it will be travelling soon.

Journal Entry 43 by GronnLivsstil at Bryne, Rogaland fylke Norway on Saturday, June 13, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (6/13/2015 UTC) at Bryne, Rogaland fylke Norway

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Sorry for the delay, but it is now on it's way to the next reader.

Journal Entry 44 by wingHaugtussawing at Stavanger, Rogaland fylke Norway on Sunday, July 05, 2015
The book has arrived. I'll get to it soonish.

Journal Entry 45 by wingHaugtussawing at Stavanger, Rogaland fylke Norway on Monday, August 31, 2015
The book has taken me some time to get through, no apparent reason though as I have quite enjoued the book.
I have ignored the Samoan, and just gone with the flow. I do like getting a glimse of a foreign culture, and this is one that I know very little of.

Journal Entry 46 by wingHaugtussawing at Stavanger, Rogaland fylke Norway on Friday, September 18, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (9/18/2015 UTC) at Stavanger, Rogaland fylke Norway

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The book travels on!

Journal Entry 47 by gunvor at Herlev, København Amt Denmark on Tuesday, September 22, 2015
I love to get forgotten Ray/ring books in my mail box. Looking forward to going to Samoa.

Journal Entry 48 by gunvor at Herlev, København Amt Denmark on Sunday, October 25, 2015
Generally, I love reading books from other countries and parts of the world. I also liked parts of this book, but I couldnt really grasp the full story of the Samoan girl unfortunately.

Journal Entry 49 by gunvor at Herlev, København Amt Denmark on Saturday, November 21, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (11/21/2015 UTC) at Herlev, København Amt Denmark

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The book is on its way to the next reader in the US. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 50 by gunvor at Herlev, København Amt Denmark on Saturday, November 21, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (11/21/2015 UTC) at Herlev, København Amt Denmark

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The book is on its way to the next reader in the US. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 51 by wingerishkigalwing at Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Saturday, December 26, 2015
The book is safely here in Utah, and I do look forward to giving it a try. Thanks for offering and sending it on !

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