A review of “Tulagi Hotel”, by Heikki Heitala and published by diiarts.com, 12 April 2010. Available in hard cover, paperback and Kindle
Heikki Heitala has written such a fine novel that spans World War Two in the South Pacific to the decade after the war when one of the fighter pilots, Jack McGuire, buys a surplus float plane and returns to the Solomon Islands to find a life for himself. Originally from a Nebraska farm and terribly shy, Jack’s one excitement in life has since boyhood been airplanes and flying. In WWII he goes into military service and becomes a fighter pilot.
There is no Hollywood glamour and action-for-action’s sake in this fine novel. These are real people with real lives and real feelings who live in a real world filled with the pains of growing up as a shy kid on a Nebraska farm, is a nice guy, becomes an ace fighter pilot, tries to find love and fails at it, lives what most of us would think of as an idyllic life on an island in the South Pacific, and like so many men in his position, finds his closest friend and confidant in a bottle of alcohol. Utterly human and likable in spite of themselves, this is a story that, once read, is not forgotten.
Heikki Heitala is a fine writer. I look forward to seeing a next book from him. This is an unqualified 5 star read.