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A dusty, dreamy Hawaii rife with sexual frustration, loneliness and adolescent heartbreak is the setting for the nine stories of Hemmings's bold debut collection. Misery adores company in "Final Girl," in which a single mother discovers a pornographic magazine in her 13-year-old son's room and turns on him despite herself, wishing he had more of "that character-developing sadness. Instead, he's a child who sings in the car." In the title story, intrepid preteen Kora is anxious to fit into her clique of Lolitaesque teenage friends—island girls "doing bad things in pretty places"—and is frightened of losing her best friend, Wendy, when Wendy's delinquent brother, Perry, resurfaces. In "Begin with an Outline," a girl is haunted by her imprisoned father, a notorious drug dealer; in "Island Cowboys," embittered, indebted Pete covets his brother's easy prosperity and finds forbidden solace in his niece. A 16-year-old boy pines for his social-climbing nanny in "Secret Clutch," only to discover that she has taken up with his wealthy father; a teenage girl and her father's mistress develop a disturbing bond in "Location Scouts." At times Hemmings steers her troubled protagonists in predictable directions, but overall these are fresh, acerbic tales, offering a distinctive perspective on everyday life in a vacation paradise. Agent, Witherspoon Associates. (June 20)
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Just as the individual land masses that make up the Hawaiian Islands are worlds unto themselves, so, too, are the characters Hemmings depicts in this penetrating exploration of the nature of families and the individuals who belong to them. Disappointment and isolation, frustration and regret inform each story's conflict, whether it is a father unprepared to raise his 10-year-old daughter while her mother lies in a coma, as in "The Minor Wars," or a pack of teenage girls flirting with independence in "House of Thieves." Hemmings takes her characters' cues from the composition of the islands she knows so well, their volcanic cores smoldering just beneath the surface, either forced to lie dormant or prone to violent outbursts. Set against the tropical backdrop of sun, sand, and surf, Hemmings' stories are all the more surreal for their perceptive juxtaposition of tumultuous emotions within such a seemingly benign paradise. With a dynamic and imaginative voice, Hemmings infuses her stories with keen insight, and lavishes her characters with profound empathy. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I just really love the way Hemmings writes. I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but I thought each of these stories was compelling, even though some of... Read more
Very good book. I loved the descendants. I am amazed at the talent of this authorPublished 7 months ago by m.jennifer
Most of the stories in this collection are pretty dark and unsettling. As in her books, she has a lot of insight into the often contradictory feelings that we have for loved ones. Read morePublished 8 months ago by I'm Bookish
I have been looking for this book at local bookstores to no avail. Eventually, I had to suck it up and order it online. To my surprise, it was well worth it. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Adrian
I can't help it. I'm addicted to Kaui Hart Hemmings musings on life. A part of the Hawaiian experience you'd never otherwise know.Published 10 months ago by Larry J Dunlap
Like many readers, I came to know Kaui Hart Hemmings' work because of The Descendants. While the story that would later become the novel is included here, it's really a collection... Read morePublished 14 months ago by KM Seehaus
Did you live The Descendents? Me too. I also loved these stories but the kindle version unfortunately had a lot of typos.Published 18 months ago by K. Fairbanks
I just couldn't get into these stories. I was hoping the next
one would be better,but it wasn't. I loved The Descendants. Read more