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Honolulu

by Alan Brennert
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Product Details

  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publishing date: 03/03/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780312360405
  • ISBN: 0312360401

Synopsis

From the bestselling author of the ?dazzling historical saga” (The Washington Post), Moloka’i, comes the irresistible story of a young immigrant bride in a ramshackle town that becomes a great modern city

?In Korea in those days, newborn girls were not deemed important enough to be graced with formal names, but were instead given nicknames, which often reflected the parents’ feelings on the birth of a daughter:  I knew a girl named Anger, and another called Pity.  As for me, my parents named me Regret.”

Honolulu is the rich, unforgettable story of a young ?picture bride” who journeys to Hawai'i in 1914 in search of a better life.

Instead of the affluent young husband and chance at an education that she has been promised, she is quickly married off to a poor, embittered laborer who takes his frustrations out on his new wife. Renaming herself Jin, she makes her own way in this strange land, finding both opportunity and prejudice. With the help of three of her fellow picture brides, Jin prospers along with her adopted city, now growing from a small territorial capital into the great multicultural city it is today.  But paradise has its dark side, whether it’s the daily struggle for survival in Honolulu’s tenements, or a crime that will become the most infamous in the islands’ history...

With its passionate knowledge of people and places in Hawai'i far off the tourist track, Honolulu is most of all the spellbinding tale of four women in a new world, united by dreams, disappointment, sacrifices, and friendship.

Alan Brennert is the author of Moloka’i, which was a 2006-2007 BookSense Reading Group Pick and won the 2006 Bookies Award, sponsored by the Contra Costa Library, for the Book Club Book of the Year. It appeared on the BookSense, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Honolulu Advertiser, and NCIBA bestseller lists. Alan has also won an Emmy Award for his work as a writer-producer on the television series L.A. Law and a Nebula Award for his story ?MaQui.” He lives in Sherman Oaks, California.

?In Korea in those days, newborn girls were not deemed important enough to be graced with formal names, but were instead given nicknames, which often reflected the parents’ feelings on the birth of a daughter:  I knew a girl named Anger, and another called Pity.  As for me, my parents named me Regret.”

Honolulu is the rich, unforgettable story of a young ?picture bride” who journeys to Hawai'i in 1914 in search of a better life.

Instead of the affluent young husband and chance at an education that she has been promised, she is quickly married off to a poor, embittered laborer who takes his frustrations out on his new wife. Renaming herself Jin, she makes her own way in this strange land, finding both opportunity and prejudice. With the help of three of her fellow picture brides, Jin prospers along with her adopted city, now growing from a small territorial capital into the great multicultural city it is today.  But paradise has its dark side, whether it’s the daily struggle for survival in Honolulu’s tenements, or a crime that will become the most infamous in the islands’ history...

With its passionate knowledge of people and places in Hawai'i far off the tourist track, Honolulu is most of all the spellbinding tale of four women in a new world, united by dreams, disappointment, sacrifices, and friendship.

"Honolulu is meticulously researched . . . [Brennert] intersperses cultural details?song lyrics, movies, popular books from the era?that add textured authenticity, and he incorporates major historic events . . . Brennert portrays the Aloha State's history as complicated and dynamic?not simply a melting pot, but a Hawaiian-style 'mixed plate' in which, as [protagonist] Jin sagely notes, 'many different tastes share the plate, but none of them loses its individual flavor, and together they make up a uniquely "local" cuisine.'"?Krista Walton, The Washington Post

PRAISE FOR Honolulu, winner of Elle’s Lettres 2009 Grand Prix for Fiction:

?A sweeping, meticulously researched saga that sees it plucky heroine, a mistreated but independent-minded Korean mail-order bride, through the highs and lows of life in twentieth-century Hawai’i, this book extends our readers’ tradition of favoring lush, flavorful historical novels.” ?Elle

 ?A well-researched and deftly written tale?.For sheer readability, it's a hit?. Brennert has a good eye for places we can't see anymore: plantation life before the unions gained power; Chinatown when it was all tenements; Waikiki before the high-rises started going up. And it's clear he has real affection for the little people and places he so vividly brings to life. He's not just using historic Honolulu as a place to set a novel; he's bringing it to life for people who haven't had the chance to imagine it before.” ?Honolulu Star-Bulletin

?To its core, Honolulu is meticulously researched?.Brennert portrays the Aloha State's history as complicated and dynamic?not simply a melting pot, but a Hawaiian-style ?mixed plate’ in which, as Jin sagely notes, ?many different tastes share the plate, but none of them loses its individual flavor, and together they make up a uniquely ?local” cuisine.’” ?The Washington Post

 ?Successful historical fiction doesn't just take a story and doll it up with period detail. It plunges readers into a different world and defines the historical and cultural pressures the characters face in that particular time and place. That's what Los Angeles writer Alan Brennert did in his previous novel, Moloka’i, the story of diseased Hawaiians exiled in their own land. He has done it again in "Honolulu," which focuses on the Asian immigrant experience in Hawaii, specifically that of Korean picture brides?.This is a moving, multilayered epic by a master of historical fiction, in which one immigrant's journey helps us understand our nation's "becoming." ?San Francisco Chronicle

?[A] sweeping, epic novel?.Brennert weaves the true stories of early Hawaii into his fictional tale, and many of the captivating people Jin encounters are real. His depiction of the effects of the Depression is startling. Let’s hope Brennert follows up this second novel with a third and continues to capture this intriguing and little-explored segment of American history in beautifully told stories.” ?Library Journal (starred review)

?[A] poignant, colorful story.” ?Kirkus Reviews

?Brennert’s lush tale of ambition, sacrifice, and survival is immense in its dramatic scope yet intimate in its emotive detail.” ?Booklist

?Intriguing?.Honolulu offers endless insights into a culture many readers may never have encountered, and Brennert further enlivens his tale by dropping in historical figures, some fictional, such as Charlie Chan, and some real, such as Clarence Darrow. But it is Korea that's the real focus of this story, and readers get a sympathetic feel for the daily humiliations the native population suffered from the Japanese who conquered the country?.[Brennert’s] smooth narrative style makes the book a pleasure to read.” ?Roanoke Times

?With skill, historic accuracy and sensitivity and a clear passion for the people and places in Hawaii, Brennert weaves a story that will move and inspire readers.” ?The Oklahoman

?In this dazzling rich, historical story, a young ?picture bride’ travels to Hawaii in 1914 in search of a better life?.This intriguing novel is a fascinating literary snapshot of Hawaii during the early years of the last century. The story is compelling, poignant and powerful.” --Tucson Citizen

"This delightful, suspense-filled feminist novel and social history movingly portrays the ambivalence, confusion and longing suffered by immigrants making their way in a new world, but reveals how women who may be powerless individually, can band together into a triumphant sororal circle of unstoppable strength." ?Newark Star-Ledger

"'Regret' is the given name of the protagonist of Alan Brennert's beautiful, sprawling novel Honolulu... Brennert's realization of a character of so different a time, place and gender of his own is an amazing accomplishment in itself. Honolulu is a delight." ?BookPage

 Moloka’i:

"Moloka’i is a big, generous, compassionate, beautifully rendered epic novel about a largely forgotten, large...


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  • A great read!
    From Amazon

    I love this author's easy to read style which manages to be both historically informative and entertaining. I have a hard time putting this book down to go to sleep every night and I've been running home after work all week in order to get back to it as soon as possible. It paints a wonderful picture of Hawaii in the early 20th century but never does it feel like the author is trying to educate you. It's just a great, captivating novel.

  • Island of Opportunity
    From Amazon

    Honolulu - Alan Brennert Jin is a young Korean woman who, in defiance of tradition, travels to Honolulu as a picture bride in 1914. She hopes for a better life and a chance at an education. She is brutally disappointed when she finds herself married to poor and abusive farm laborer. Honolulu is the story of her struggle to survive and create a good life for herself. Jin grows personally as a wife and mother and succeeds professionally as a business owner. She maintains her friendships with other picture brides and develops relationships with many of the colorful characters of the city. Brennert tells a detailed story of Honolulu as a growing, multicultural city with all of its opportunity, crime and prejudice. I was especially interested in the characters that Brennert drew from literature and history. Specifically, he drew on Maugham's Sadie Thompson and Charlie Chan. The characters as they appear in Honolulu are based on the real people who originally inspired the fictional characters.

  • Enjoyable, but not Moloka'i
    From Amazon

    Love Brennert's easy-to-read style and first person narratives. Always impressed when a man can write from the heart of a woman. Didn't grab me in the same emotional way that Moloka'i did. I felt for Jin and her tragedy-turns-to-happiness story, but didn't get drawn into being part of her life. Definitely an enjoyable book and worth the read, but don't forget Brennert's first book.

  • Honolulu
    From Amazon

    Interesting, but not a favorite. It seemed a bit forced at lot of the time and I don't like true historical facts presented in such a fashion because it takes away from the storyline.

  • Started strong and then fizzled
    From Amazon

    This was OK. I loved it in the beginning and I felt like it wrapped up nicely but about 1/3 way through I found myself a little board. Molokai I enjoyed much more.

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