Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This Is Paradise : What She Read Review


Pick it up at your local bookseller or Amazon.


What is it?
A new collection of realistic, contemporary short stories set in the islands of Hawaii.

Why is it unique?
As with many memorable and worthwhile short story collections, This Is Paradise offers readers the uniquely intimate internal experiences of its characters at pivotal moments in their lives.  And what this author provides that few others can is a glimpse into the psyches of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians returning from lives in the mainland U.S.  Ms. Kahakauwila consistently shows us that paradise for tourists is just like any other place for those who are born and raised there.  For me, this will be the enduring intellectual shift produced by Ms. Kahakauwila's well-crafted and solidly paced stories: the reminder that - even in paradise - betrayals, casual cruelties, tortured relationships, and deaths - both accidental and expected - sweep into our day-to-day lives as reliably as the waves rolling in at Diamond Head.

Do you recommend it?
Yes, I do.  I gave it **** on Goodreads, which is a high mark for me.

Why?
These stories achieve that fine balance between the utterly specific (one centers around the long-held grudges and loyalties among members of a local cock-fighting ring, another illuminates "The Old Pianola Way" of Hawaiian cowboys, while a third allows us into a funeral where we experience Christian religious ceremony mingled with Hawaiian familial and social traditions) and the broadly recognizable - yet often quite subtle - nuances of relationships.  Be it the ambivalent allegiances within girlfriend-groups or the tension between honoring one's parents or siding with one's lover, most readers will recall moments in their own lives in these stories and receive or revisit insights about the intricacies of these interactions.

For whom?
Fans of the short story genre and of the novelette will appreciate this collection, and certainly those of us we've been fortunate enough to visit any of the Hawaiian islands will find this "insider's tour" fascinating as well.

Where can I find a copy?
It's available at Indiebound, Amazon, or your local bookseller.   You can find a Kindle version at Amazon, and you can get it on iBooks for your Apple products.   Want a peek at the prose?  Try the Amazon "Look Inside" feature for a sample.

What action will you take in response to this book?
I will start planning for another trip to Hawaii.  I've visited Maui twice now, and keep dreaming that I will return "next spring", but never follow through.  Recently added - and often relatively inexpensive - local flights plus the potential for a free stay in a friend's timeshare make the Big Island a possibility and these stories made me yearn to view aspects of Hawaii beyond what a tourist would normally encounter, so I'm eager to visit an island with a more pronounced urban center.

Also, I might contact Ms. Kahakauwila, who is a professor at Western Washington University near me, to offer my congratulations on this collection and to find out whether she might be willing to visit my classes for a conversation or a guest lesson on incorporating local cultural and familial traditions into our writing.  Wish me luck!

Once again, I'm indebted to the fine folks at TLC Book Tours for introducing me to this collection.  For additional responses to This Is Paradise, you might hop by the other blogs on this tour.

MFB in Hawaii,

L



4 comments:

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I love your review! So much more thoughtful than mine was. The author left a comment on my blog after reading my review, in which she encouraged you to introduce yourself to her, so definitely go for it!

I"ll keep my fingers crossed that you're able to make another trip to Hawai'i soon.

Tahleen said...

I love this. Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention—I spent two weeks in Hawaii for my honeymoon and have been reading any and all books I can find set there. This sounds wonderful.

Laurie said...

E, thanks for the heads-up! And I thought your review was right on the money.
T - I think you'll be glad you got this collection, as it definitely made me look at the islands with new eyes.

heathertlc said...

I've never been to Hawaii but I think I'd enjoy this behind the scenes look all the same. It's a reminder that life is life, no matter where you live.

Thanks for being on the tour!

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