Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila

Morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Kristiana Kahakauwila's This Is Paradise.

This debut short story collection from Kahakauwila highlights Hawaii in a way that will surprise and please readers, I think. Each story presents a slightly different look at the state and the people who live there. In "This is Paradise" it is - as the book synopsis calls it - a "chorus" of women telling the tale. Central to the story is the observance of a tourist whose choices show that Hawaii isn't always paradise for everyone. The second story, "Wanle," is about a young woman embedded in the cock fighting world whose ultimate goal is to avenge her father's death. "The Road to Hana" and "Thirty-Nine Rules for Making a Hawaiian Funeral Into a Drinking Game" both deal heavily with the native vs haole issue.  There's also a heavy focus on family and relationships throughout the book, as in the last two tales, "Portrait of a Good Father" and "The Old Paniola Way" (and stories previously mentioned).

While I enjoyed this sort of insider's look at Hawaii, I only wish that I could list it as one of the places I've visited in my life. It would give me as a reader a chance to contrast the touristy Hawaii with Kahakauwila's Hawaii. That said, the author does a wonderful job instilling a strong sense of place and an appreciation of the people who call it home.

This is Paradise is a great showcase of Kahakauwila's writing skill and talent in storytelling. One can only hope that there will be a full length novel somewhere down the line - something to really sink your teeth into - but until then this collection is a wonderful introduction to this author.

To see other stops on the tour, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Kristiana and her work, visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook.


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I agree with your comments--this was a fine collection of stories. I had a great time reading these and thinking of the darker side of paradise--paradise isn't always paradise to the people who live there.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I have never been to Hawaii myself - and have no plans to travel there any time soon - so I'll have rely on books like this to give me a sense for the place. Sounds like this book does a great job with that!

Thanks for being on the tour.