In a stunning collection that announces the arrival of an incredible talent, Kristiana Kahakauwila travels the islands of Hawai'i, making the fabled place her own. Exploring the deep tensions between local and tourist, tradition and expectation, façade and authentic self, This Is Paradise provides an unforgettable portrait of life as it's truly being lived on Maui, Oahu, Kaua'i and the Big Island.
In the gut-punch of "Wanle," a beautiful and tough young woman wants nothing more than to follow in her father's footsteps as a legendary cockfighter. With striking versatility, the title story employs a chorus of voices - the women of Waikiki - to tell the tale of a young tourist drawn to the darker side of the city's nightlife. "The Old Paniolo Way" limns the difficult nature of legacy and inheritance when a patriarch tries to settle the affairs of his farm before his death.
Exquisitely written and bursting with sharply observed detail, Kahakauwila's stories remind us of the powerful desire to belong, to put down roots, and to have a place to call home.
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"[A] well-crafted work that compassionately treats the men and women who love and suffer in an island paradise." - Publishers Weekly
"Finely wrought work from an impressive new talent...The author's assured use of both pidgin and standard English mirrors her characters' uneasy feeling of straddling two worlds: a timeless one in harmony with nature and a commercial, modern one that is both invasive and enticing." - Kirkus
"This debut collection of short stories heralds the arrival of talented new author in the genre." - Barnes and Noble
"[A] sparkling debut story collection...A writer with one foot in the native Hawaiian community and the other in the mainland mainstream gives us an edgy, unmistakably authentic glimpse of the harder side of island life." - Elle
"Vividly imagined, beautifully written, at times almost unbearably suspenseful...Never could I have imagined that I might read with such sympathy a story narrated by a young woman who trains roosters to fight - but 'Wanle' is that story." - Joyce Carol Oates
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Kristiana Kahakauwila, a native Hawaiian, was raised in Southern California. She earned a master's in fine arts from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from Princeton University. She has worked as a writer and editor for Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado, and Highlights for Children magazines. She taught English at Chaminade University in Honolulu and is now an assistant professor of creative writing at Western Washington University.
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