Excerpt from Honolulu by Alan Brennert, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Honolulu

by Alan Brennert

Honolulu by Alan Brennert
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2009, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2010, 464 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Charlie, meanwhile, was constructing a rather elaborate sand castle, in which I now recognized some disturbing shapes—not just the familiar pailshaped towers, but a kind of cupola with suspiciously similar proportions to a rice bowl I had brought to the picnic. I now discovered that while my attentions had been focused on Grace, Charlie had ransacked the picnic basket and dumped the rice into a sandy grave, along with the kimchi I had packed in a tall jar that he used to make an admittedly impressive sand-tower. I made my displeasure known, and only after I had finished scolding him did I suddenly realize that someone was missing. Where was Harold?

My annoyance with Charlie was quickly replaced by panic over Harry.

He was a good swimmer, but even so I anxiously searched the rolling surface of the ocean for some trace of him. I looked up and down the beach, toward Diamond Head in one direction and the Moana in the other, but still no Harry. I told myself to remain calm, trying to think of where he might have gone; and then I noticed again the pile of surfboards stacked up beside the Moana. After placing Charlie and Grace in my husband’s care, I hurried down the beach.

The Moana Hotel was a large, modern white building with plantationstyle verandahs facing the sea. On this autumn day the beach was populated mainly by local residents, surfers, and a handful of Moana guests: pale flabby haoles gleaming with coconut oil, looking and smelling like haupia pudding as they sunned themselves in beach chairs. I saw no sign of Harry on the grounds of the hotel. I looked seaward, where a handful of surfers wearing dark tank tops and trunks were serenely gliding atop cresting waves. When a surfer with skin as bronze as a new penny came ashore with his board, I went up to him and asked, “Excuse me, but—have you seen a little Korean boy? About four years old?”

The surfer looked over my shoulder and said, “Is that him?”

I turned to see another surfer riding a low swell in to shore, a small boy perched on the prow of the long board like a hood ornament on a Model T.

“Momma!” Harry called out, never happier. “Look! I’m surfing!”

I ran to him as the surfer beached the board and told him, “Uh-uh oh, jig’s up. Everybody off.” Harry obediently jumped off, into the shallows. I gathered up my son in my arms, so happy to see him that I barely chided him for going off alone. “Harry, you nearly scared Momma to death!”

The surfer on whose board Harry had been riding—a broad-faced Portuguese-Hawaiian with a few front teeth missing from his smile—looked at me, then at Harry and said, “Kid, you’re a spitting chip off the old block.”

In all the years I was to know this man, I was never sure whether his scrambled metaphors were accidental or intentional clowning.

“Sorry,” he apologized, “my fault. Your boy came up, asked if I could teach him to surf, so I offered him a ride.”

The other surfer grinned and said, “See, the keiki follow Panama around ’cause they know another keiki when they see one.”

Panama expressed mock indignation. “If that ain’t the Tarball calling the kettle black!”

“Hey, I may be short,” the one called Tarball said, “but Panama’s so short, other day he got beat up by some kid smaller than Harry here.”

“She was not,” Panama shot back, and they both exploded into laughter.

I soon learned that these amiable watermen with the colorful names were among a select group known as “beachboys,” who served visitors to Waikïkï in a wide variety of capacities: surfing instructors, outrigger canoe pilots, island tour guides, drinking companions, and occasionally companions of a different sort for mainland wahines who could not help but be impressed by their charm, athleticism, and exotic good looks.

Excerpted from Honolulu by Alan Brennert, Copyright © 2009 by Alan Brennert. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press, a division of Macmillan, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Priestdaddy
    Priestdaddy
    by Patricia Lockwood
    Patricia Lockwood is a poet and the daughter of Greg Lockwood, a Catholic priest. While Catholic ...
  • Book Jacket: Before We Sleep
    Before We Sleep
    by Jeffrey Lent
    Katey Snow, aged seventeen, leaves home one night. "There was a void within her and one that could ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Hermit
    by Thomas Rydahl
    If you can be comfortable with Scandinavian noir played out against the sun-drenched backdrop of ...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Essex Serpent
    by Sarah Perry

    Costa Book Award Finalist and the Waterstones (UK) Book of the Year 2016
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.