Literary Corner Cafe

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Coming Soon - Honolulu by Alan Brennert

In 2003, author Alan Brennert published a book titled Moloka’i that became a surprise best seller, especially with reading groups and book clubs. Set on the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i, the book told the story of a Hawaiian girl who grew into womanhood at the island’s one time leper colony of Kalaupapa, where she falls in love with a Japanese man whose disease has brought shame upon his family.

In March 2009, Brennert will publish his second novel, Honolulu. Honolulu takes place in 1914, and explores Hawaii’s capital city through the eyes of a young Korean “picture bride” named Jin (which means “Regret”). (“Picture brides” were women selected by Asian [usually Japanese or Korean] immigrant workers through their photo only to be their wives.)

However, when Jin, who left Korea with such high hopes, arrives in Honolulu, she finds things are not as she expected and instead of joy, much sorrow and disappointment await her.

While I don’t like to categorize books, some people feel it’s necessary. So, with that in mind, Honolulu would fall into the category of historical fiction. And it sounds like very good historical fiction. Moloka’i was a beautifully textured novel, capturing all the sights, sounds, smells, etc. of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu promises to be just as good, if not better.

Yes, there are a lot of books about the role of women in Asian culture – Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Snow Fox, The Kitchen God’s Wife, Wild Swans, and on and on. What makes Honolulu so memorable is the high quality of Brennert’s writing and the reader’s personal relationship with Jin. We really do see Honolulu and the Hawaiian Islands through the eyes of the young Korean bride. We learn much when we read Honolulu, but we’re also entertained as well.

Honolulu promises to be a best seller, just as Moloka’i was. Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, one certainly has to admit the book was written with passion and love, and when you get right down to it, that’s the only way to write.

Learn more about Alan Brennert at his Web site:

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