Two young Australians arrive unannounced on a remote Melanesian island and ask its residents if they can live with them for a year. Granted this request, cut off from the outside world, living without electricity, telephones, running water, two-way radios or even access to an ocean-going boat, Roger Averill and his anthropologist partner adapt to life in a subsistence culture and find themselves overwhelmed by the generosity of their hosts. Treacherous sea voyages, cyclones, a drug-induced psychotic episode and encounters with maverick American missionaries all add to the adventure. As the health of the couple steadily deteriorates from repeated bouts of malaria, their relationships with the islanders intensify to form deep and lasting bonds. In this way, amidst stories of love and detective magic, shape-changing witches, playful tree sprites, dwarf’s hair and a dead merman, the most amazing transformation in Boy He Cry remains the way these people from vastly different cultures start out as total strangers but quickly become friends, even family.
Rare, precious and beautiful, Boy He Cry is a spiritual odyssey into the heart of a remote culture.
“Roger Averill’s book will bring back memories, often amusing ones, for anyone who has had the experience of being suddenly transplanted into the established life of a very alien society. Differences of “custom”, and struggles with language, frequently lead to comedy, which in turn can lead to affection.”
– Randolph Stow, author of The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea and To the Islands.
“A lucid, tender tale, a journey that brings our humanity home to us.”
– Chris Eipper, author of Dieback.