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Moloka’i | [Alan Brennert]

Moloka’i

The powerful debut novel from Alan Brennert, Moloka’i tells the story of Rachel Kalama, a seven-year-old Hawaiian girl who contracts leprosy and is quarantined on the island of Moloka’i during the 1890s. Separated from her family and forced to grow up in the leper colony of Kalaupapa, Rachel experiences intense isolation. But she remains strong, finding moments of joy, and even love. Rich in Hawaiian history, this novel proves itself a stellar piece of historical fiction.
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Publisher's Summary

The powerful debut novel from Alan Brennert, Moloka’i tells the story of Rachel Kalama, a seven-year-old Hawaiian girl who contracts leprosy and is quarantined on the island of Moloka’i during the 1890s. Separated from her family and forced to grow up in the leper colony of Kalaupapa, Rachel experiences intense isolation. But she remains strong, finding moments of joy, and even love. Rich in Hawaiian history, this novel proves itself a stellar piece of historical fiction.

©2003 Alan Brennert (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

“Compellingly original … Brennert’s compassion makes Rachel a memorable character, and his smooth storytelling vividly brings early twentieth-century Hawaii to life.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (827 )
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4.3 (638 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Denise 10-08-12
    Denise 10-08-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Amazing story, well told!"
    Where does Moloka’i rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    top 10


    What about Anne Noelani Miyamoto’s performance did you like?

    Listening to Anne read I could feel and hear the islands in her voice and inflection. Having someone that speaks the Hawaiian language made all the difference.


    Any additional comments?

    I think Moloka'i is a wonderful story of survival. Although I felt it was depressing in the beginning, the pulling apart of families, and the bigotry, I can in some ways understand the fear of the community when you don't understand the disease. I came away inspired by the thousands of people that choose to make the best they could out of a horrible situation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan L. Rhudy SW Missouri 10-08-12
    Susan L. Rhudy SW Missouri 10-08-12

    SR

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Moloka'i reminded me of the local TB hospital."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Moloka’i to be better than the print version?

    I enjoyed the audible version of the book. I hear more than I would read. Skimming is appropriate for a quick novel but listening allows you to feel for the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    I worked at a local hospital that in an earlier life was a TB hospital. It had it's own dairy, raised food, had schools, proms, operated on patients to remove the infected lung once the TB was surrounded. Patients became employees. Fresh air was a cure so in the dead of winter windows were opened wide. Patients had many blankets and a cap. Snow ended up on them during storms. Leprosy apparently wasn't communicable as was TB. We treat people different because......we're afraid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy 10-07-12
    Judy 10-07-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stunning story of a horrific situation."
    What made the experience of listening to Moloka’i the most enjoyable?

    The reader's performance was spot on!!! I really enjoyed her portrayal of the main charactor who is a child who was diagnosed with leprosy as a very young child and spent a year or more in a hospital and then about 20 or 30 years at the leper colony on Molokai.


    What other book might you compare Moloka’i to and why?

    Can't think of another book to compare this to.


    What about Anne Noelani Miyamoto’s performance did you like?

    She portrayed the main charactor so well, it was like listening to her telling her own story


    Who was the most memorable character of Moloka’i and why?

    Other than the main character it was the nun who nurtured her all the years she lived on Molokai.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Los Altos, CA, United States 10-06-12
    Katherine Los Altos, CA, United States 10-06-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Missed the potential to be great"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It was too much exposition and not enough literary drama. Many of the scenes and circumstances had tremendous potential to be compelling and unforgettable, but came off as basic description. The characters and the scenes all needed flushing out. It was not a Michener masterpiece, though it had the potential.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Predictable.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Narration didn't confer the deep emotions the story deserved.


    Did Moloka’i inspire you to do anything?

    Reinforced my feelings against discrimination.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wayne hawaii, HI, United States 10-06-12
    wayne hawaii, HI, United States 10-06-12 Member Since 2011
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    4
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    "Historical fiction which informs and engages"
    Where does Moloka’i rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I loved learning about the history of this very specific time, place and situation-Hawaii and Hansons Disease through 70 years of history, as told so fully and compationately through the eyes of the central and peripheral characters. The story trancended what it so successfully depicted by engaging me through fiction into contemplation of the human condition of suffering and loss, love and community that we all experience. I was also grateful for the interwoven Hawaiian history, mythology and spirit. Though I have lived in Hawaii for many years I felt closer to my chosen home through the experience of this book.


    What other book might you compare Moloka’i to and why?

    In a way this book engaged me as have some by Michener and Steinbeck, and shared the Hawaiian experience as did "The Folding Cliffs".


    Who was the most memorable character of Moloka’i and why?

    Rachel of course was the central character. Her strength, dignity and open heart were humbling, making me wish I could meet her and cheer her on.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    menary kitchen 09-21-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "i was amazed that i had never heard of this book"
    Would you listen to Moloka’i again? Why?

    yes. i am sure that i missed a lot in the read. it was an enjoyable listen


    What other book might you compare Moloka’i to and why?

    "cutting for stone". because it is the story of a treacherous life that could have been depressing but isnt


    Which scene was your favorite?

    yes


    If you could take any character from Moloka’i out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    rachel was humorous and positive and talented and ambitious and loveable and ...etc


    Any additional comments?

    i am surprised that i had never heard of this story before. it was very well written and obviously researched. not only did i enjoy the story extremely, but feel well enlightened on our nations history

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheri 09-21-12
    Sheri 09-21-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Intriguing, Insightful. A listen worth your credit"
    Where does Moloka’i rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It seems I've been on a dry stretch of trying to find a book that would really capture my interest lately. Moloka'i has it!! I learned a lot, the characters were realistic and memorable and the historical research was remarkably well done and yet easily transposed into a great plot about the history leprosy colony off main land Hawaii.


    What does Anne Noelani Miyamoto bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A narrator who obviously has the knowledge of Hawaii and its language and traditions only adds to the enjoyment of this listen.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LH huddleston, VA, United States 04-30-12
    LH huddleston, VA, United States 04-30-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderfully written book"
    If you could sum up Moloka’i in three words, what would they be?

    Alan Brennert is an wonderful writer. In Moloka'i, he will bring you to tears as he weaves this heart breaking story. Most of the characters are well developed. His description of the Island of Moloka'i doing this period is excellent. This is a book that will remain with you forever.


    What does Anne Noelani Miyamoto bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her pronunciation of the Hawaian words and names was invaluable


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This is an extremely sad book that will bring the strongest to tears


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer California 04-27-12
    Amazon Customer California 04-27-12 Member Since 2004

    Author, Raising Baby Green

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful & Haunting"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I cried every time I listened, and yet I couldn't stop listening. I cared so deeply about these characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorie Fort Myers, FL, United States 01-31-12
    Lorie Fort Myers, FL, United States 01-31-12
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    "A Must"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It's a great story and you really fell the pain and life that the people had to live.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That it was read to you by a local. It made you feel the pain and the joy. I spent 8 years in Hawaii and you could picture what and where they were. It was told very well.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are too many to pick just one. When the girls went to the party, then surfing


    Who was the most memorable character of Moloka’i and why?

    Rachael ! You watched her go from a young girl happy to being cast off to becoming a women and then meeting her daughter and the end


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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