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

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by Alan Brennert

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

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Print Excerpt

It was our last hope, cruelly dashed.

I blamed not Congress but myself: If only I had thought to do this a year ago—even six months ago! I wept bitterly, feeling the greatest loss and grief since the death of my first child; and in a way, this was a kind of death, the death of a dream long held. Jae-sun tried to comfort me, but I would not be consoled. During the day, with Harold and Grace at school and Jae-sun at work, I would look at the daybed we had bought for my little sister and would burst into tears—alarming Charlie, who hardly understood grief and would never know what he was missing by Blossom’s absence in our home.

Just as I was beginning to reconcile myself to a life without her, I received another letter from Joyful Day—this one informing me that Blossom had once again run away. But this time she had done so bearing an Imperial Japanese passport. She could not travel to the United States with this document, but she might have been able to use it to escape to Japan or China. Despite their best attempts, my family was unable to locate her.

Blossom was gone, and my clan had only fifty dollars in “earnest money” to show for it. Father had reason a new to hate me.

With my husband’s agreement I wired them the balance of the money owed them: they had, after all, lived up to their part of the bargain.

And now, in addition to my grief that my little sister-in-law would not be joining me in Hawai'i, I worried for her safety. The life of a runaway did not usually end well, and I fretted about where she was, whether she had money for food or a roof over her head. All I could do was pray for her safety and well-being.

My only consolation—a faint one—was the knowledge that Blossom would not, after all, become a daughter-in-law flower growing in my family’s bitter garden. At least I had helped, in some way, to assist in her escaping this fate; and wherever she was, wherever she came to rest, I prayed for her safety and eventual happiness, and hoped she would not forget me . . . even as I would never, could never, forget the first real sister I had ever had.

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.

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