Author(s): Kawai Strong Washburn
'It wasn't the life I'd ever imagined for myself, but I know now that we seldom ever get what we've imagined, and that this life is less about achieving than it is about adjusting. We're not the waves that pound against the earth until it breaks down to our wants. We're the rivers, that bend and give among the stones that present themselves, and we slowly find our way to the end.'
In 1994 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores is saved from drowning by a shiver of sharks. His family, struggling to make ends meet amidst the collapse of the sugar cane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favour from ancient Hawaiian gods. But as time passes, this hope gives way to economic realities, forcing Nainoa and his siblings to seek salvation across the continental United States, leaving behind home and family.
With stunning physical detail and a profound command of language, Washburn's powerful debut examines what it means to be both of a place, and a stranger in it.
Captures the tyranny of distance, something familiar to many NZ families. Highly recommended - April