How long was I stupid enough to believe we were indestructible? But that’s the problem with the present, it’s never the thing you’re holding, only the thing you’re watching, later, from a distance so great the memory might as well be a spill of stars outside a windshield at twilight
i put off reading this until shark week, only to discover that the shark content in this book is MINIMAL. however, this FAMILY, this STORY—i was as unprepared for what this book actually was as i was for how damn good it would be.
i’m not going to say too much, because every time i thought i knew where the story was headed, i was wrong, and that was one of my favorite things about it—its sheer unpredictability.
it’s a fourteen-year, five-POV family saga about history and destiny and homeland and diaspora, with a chef’s kiss of magic and a teeny tiny sharktease.
and it’s just lovely. not ‘lovely’ like tidy and lavender-scented (although it is a book oddly preoccupied with scent, or rather “stink”), but “lovely” like rich and lush and vibrant and very nearly tangible. these perfectly imperfect characters burst up offa the page, and you feel more connected to them than they do to each other, as the three siblings grow up and apart under the weight of parental sacrifice and expectations, leaving their native hawai’i behind for mainland opportunities, none of which go quite as planned.
it’s a stunning debut. i preferred the earthier parts to the *flighty hand gesture* bits, but that’s me, loving the fighting spirit that shrugs at poverty and tragedy and early promise gone awry, feeling these characters’ physical and spiritual exhaustion all through the bones of me.
the writing is so absolutely outstanding, i can’t praise it enough. a book like this is a rare treat and i cannot wait for his next one.
4.5 rounded up DESPITE very limited shark-content. review to come
one more shark week read!!!
this arrived at my house; unexpected, unrequested, so to whatever book fairy over at MCD knows who i am (and where i live), thank you and happy early shark week!