McMullin seamlessly flows between exposing the ironies of Tiki kitsch–inspired cultural appropriation and intimate snapshots of Samoan people and place. In doing so, he disrupts popular notions of a beautiful Polynesia available for the taking, and carves out new avenues of meaning for Pacific Islanders of Oceania. Throughout the collection, McMullin illustrates various manifestations of geopolitical, cultural, linguistic, and sexual colonialism. His work illuminates the ongoing resistance to colonialism and the remarkable resilience of Pacific Islanders and queer-identified peoples.
McMullin’s Fa’a Fafine identity—the ability to walk between and embody both the masculine and feminine—creates a grounded and dynamic voice throughout the collection. It also fosters a creative dialogue between Fa’a Fafine people and trans-Indigenous movements. Through a uniquely Samoan practice of storytelling, McMullin contributes to the growing and vibrant body of queer Indigenous literature.
“McMullin’s style is sometimes conversational and performative, and sometimes focused on the poetry on the page. He has some simply stunning images, and I appreciate his refusal of translation. He balances humor, rage, and the erotic through his words.”—Qwo-Li Driskill, author of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature
“Tiki decor, as the advert says, can remind you and your customers of an exotic and tropical climate. The question posed by Dan Taulapapa McMullin's Coconut Milk is whether we want to be reminded of an exotic and tropical climate, that is to say, of the reality of an exotic and tropical climate, which may be humid, might be fetid, could be bee-stung with breezy beauty, as foreign and falsely friendly as our very own backyards, and as our own sense of family, who we keep, at our peril, in our back seats. Where you might, at your peril, keep these bristling lines.”—Vanessa Place, author of Statement of Facts