Wonderful Saga About Hawaii and it’s People!
I have never read a Michener book before this. I love historical fiction, but I somehow avoided this great author. Maybe because my father was such a fan, it turned me off for some reason, even unknown to myself.
Last year I mentioned to my father that I planned to read Hawaii. He told me that I would like it, but also advised me to skip the first chapter. He said it was so boring that he almost didn’t read the book. It turned out that my mother had read it first and when he complained she told him to skip the first chapter. He also told me that he looked forward to hearing what I thought. Unfortunately my dad passed away in September, but who knows, maybe he’s reading my review.
I didn’t follow my mom and dad’s advice; I started with the first chapter. I can see why they would have thought it was boring, but I really enjoyed it. You see Michener chose to start at the very beginning, with the formation of the land of Hawaii. I found both breath taking and informative.
Hawaii is a sprawling beautiful saga, both about it’s land and it’s people. The first inhabitants came over from Bora, Bora. Michener tells about their customs and their gods. From there, following a genealogical chart, the story grows and the years go by. Next the missionaries from America show up to bring their religion to Hawaiians that they see as heathens. Then the immigrants arrive. First the Chinese, then that Japanese and then the Filipinos. We learn about the harsh immigrant experience and how these cultures ultimately gained respect and intermingle to become the new race, Hawaiians.
I recently read an article about him, explaining that he normally moved to the places that he intended to write about. He immersed himself in the atmosphere and did his detailed research. It is apparent Michener really did his research on Hawaii.
There is not a boring moment in this long novel. Michener’s characters walk right off the page and absorb the reader into their world. I loved this novel and didn’t want it to end. Indeed, I was sad when it did. I highly recommend it, especially to historical fiction lovers.
I can hardly wait to read more James A. Michener. Hmm, which should I read next?
You decide (Disclaimer: I am not making any promises as to when I will read it):
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