In April I spoke with David Cole, President & CEO Maui Land and Pineapple, who says visitors are hungry for authenticity, and the ML&P is focused in inclusivity, sustainability, eco-sensitivity, and authenticity. It made perfect sense, then, that he was reading Theroux’s last novel, about Americans using and being used during travels in India.

What I’m Reading | David Cole
President and CEO Maui Land & Pineapple

Q&A with Christine Thomas
April 2008

-What are you reading?

On Sunday I read Paul Theroux’s “The Elephanta Suite: Three Novellas,” a superbly rendered series of American characters interacting with India and her people. America and India are divided by a common language and a billion aching hearts. Last week I read “The Life of Kingsley Amis” by Zachary Leader, a biography of the mischievous and provocative novelist and critic. His stints at Princeton and Vanderbilt set the stage for many disruptive and entertaining collisions between American prudishness and dry British wit.

-How did you discover them?

My wife Maggie passed along Theroux with a hearty recommendation. Leader’s biography was listed by The Village Voice as one of the five most notable books of 2007. Another book I read recently is “Beautiful Children” by Charles Bock, a first novel. The author was profiled in The New York Times a few weeks ago. After reading this you understand why what happens in Vegas should stay there.

-What do you like most about Theroux’s book?

Although different stories, they are linked in time and share a common theme: the dangers of bringing your accumulated laundry to another culture and what happens when hubris replaces wonder as a travel companion. It’s similar in theme and pacing to Paul Bowles classic and disturbing novel “The Sheltering Sky”.

-Is it Leader’s exploration of culture collision that you most like as well?

Yes. When cultures rub together there are opportunities to see the world anew.

-Do you also aim to envision Hawai`i anew, tempering travelers’ hubris with culturally authentic and sustainable avenues for exploration, such as Kapalua’s new eco-friendly Mountain Outpost?

In the hospitality business, both the visitor and host create their shared experience. Visitors that cherish our ways as well as our places enrich the experience for everyone. Thus, we seek visitors that bring a sense of wonder to our world.