It’s a rare first novel that endures for more than a few years. Not all that long after publication, even if fortune smiles with a few friendly reviews and sales, it’s off to the 99 cent bin at Goodwill and finally to the pulping mill for recycling.
So I am pleased to report that P.F. Kluge’s first novel, “The Day That I Die” at age 42 and set in Palau, Guam, Saipan and Tinian, remains worth a first or re-read. It’s still in print and there’s even a $3.99 edition from Amazon if your Kindle batteries are charged up.
Paul Frederick Kluge, as he was known to his mom and dad, first showed up on Saipan in 1967 as a Peace Corps volunteer. While other volunteers were attempting to teach the economics of tropical agriculture to farmers and performing other such basic chores throughout Micronesia, Kluge was toiling in the air conditioned halls of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands on Saipan’s Capitol Hill, editing the Micronesian Reporter quarterly magazine and rubbing elbows with the future leaders of Micronesia.
It had to be a much better assignment than being drafted to fight in the then on-going Vietnam War.