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This is Paradise

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.

Vividly imagined, beautifully written, at times almost unbearably suspenseful—the stories in Kristiana Kahakauwila’s debut collection, This Is Paradise, are boldly inventive in their exploration of the tenuous nature of human relations. These are poignant stories of ‘paradise’—Hawai’i—with all that ‘paradise’ entails of the transience of sensuous beauty. 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, author of The Accursed

Check out this essay by Kristiana Kahakauwila on coming home to discover what she calls “Hawai`i’s complicated nature, its anger, its sadness, its generosity, and its sense of history reverberating into the present.”

Read an excerpt of This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila.

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