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
“Compellingly original … Brennert’s compassion makes Rachel a memorable character, and his smooth storytelling vividly brings early twentieth-century Hawaii to life.” (Publishers Weekly)
Yes, for the history as well as the experience. I only give 5-star ratings to books that I will read again. This is one of them.
When Rachel met her sister.
Rachel meets her daughter.
Rachel meets her daughter.
This book is a straightforward story of a number of human lives caught up in a situation that is unfair and unavoidable. It's a beautiful read, an emotional experience, yes, even at times a tear-jerker.
This poignant tale of a young Hawaiian girl during the turn of the 19th century is well told by Allan Brennert, and I might add, well read by Anne Miyamoto. I had the privilege of visiting Kalaupapa in the late 1950s as an entertainer. Brennert's narrative is so evocative of that lonely place, that I was swept back there and relived the hours that I spent in the colony. We were truly separated from the patients at every level, but the warmth of the people minimized the uneasiness that I felt being there among them.
Brennant's story is very typical of how people were treated in those days. I thoroughlly enjoyed following Rachel as she grew from a frightened child into a mature woman, and felt her pain as she dealt with the problems of being ripped away from her family and thrown into a strange, forboding place, finding then losing loved ones, and the bittersweetness of finding a child that was taken from her at birth because she was infected
Alan Brennert's research of the time period, and the way he wove the events of the day into her story was heartwrenching real. I could hear the collective "Auwe" at the news of the king's death, and at her leaving Oahu for Moloka`i.
Anne Noelani's narration is better than any other reader's attempt at pronouncing the Hawaiian language. She is definitely familiar with island speech and inflection, however, there were a few words that were strangely pronounced. Kaiwi is pronounced ka-EE-vee, not KYE-vee. In spite of those little gafs, I did enjoy listening to the book very much. As a matter of fact, I am listening to it once again.
Although Mr. Brennant has another book on audible (Honolulu), I have decided not to get it. Another islander has reviewed that book and had the same pronounciation problem. It is very off-putting. However, if you are NOT familiar with the Hawaiian language, you might try his other book (Honolulu) if his story telling style is as good there as it is in this book, Moloka`i. I definitely will read the hard copy, instead.
Learning the history of this Hawaiian Island from a completely different perspective.
That there was always light in the heaviness of the subject matter, that the light was matter of fact.
She really captured the vocal nuances and character of the Hawaiin people, very authentic. The book was so well read/narrated/acted, that I was completely engrossed.
Rachael the main character, because she accepted what was and made a life and family for herself without self pity. She was consistent, determined, and compassionate.
This book is great way to learn the history of this island it tells story of a sad and dark time, but mixes it with love, laughter, perseverance, and utimately triumph, to build the story of the island, and it's residents history.
Ms. Miyamoto did a nice job
While well researched, it was history 'light' and too sweet for my taste.
The Hawaiian accent
I will attempt to return this as I stopped listening 10 minutes into Part 2 I only lasted that long to give it a chance.
It would make a good Hallmark movie.
This was my favorite book so far, it is a sweet, funny, sad and inspirational.
I really enjoyed Rachael, she was funny, smart and very strong. She took a tragic situation and turned it into an adventure.
Anne's performance was amazing and brought the book to life. All the characters were great.
There are many that stand out, Papa was warm and supportive.
I really loved this book and will recommend it to my friends and family.
I loved that they used a Hawaiian to narate this story. Going in and out of Pigeon talk is great. I also love how she changes character voices and her inflection is great. This story is about Hawaii's leper colony after Father Damien had passed. It has a few mentioning of the overthrow of Queen Lilio'ukalani and referenced the death of King Kalakoua. It is really good and I recommend it to those who love all things Hawaiian.
In one word: Wow!! What an amazingly well-written story. An excellent narration by Anne Miyamoto.
Heartbreaking separation, tragic loss and a chronic disfiguring illness all beautifully, and touchingly, interlaced with warmth, tenderness, love, compassion, forgiveness and most importantly, happiness!!! Happiness is a choice you make. Happiness is something you can have inspite of the circumstance of life.
This book definitely makes my list of favorites.
Yes. Simply put, it was an interesting account of what seemed to be a very real person reacting to a very harsh reality.
Miyamoto's accent added a sense of reality ot the book that I'd have missed by just reading it. I felt more drawn into what was happening by this accent and by her clever reading of an already interesting tale.
There were several parts that made me sniffle, definitely, though I can't spoil the book for others by explaining them. Most of this book sparks a strong emotional response.
Throughout Moloka'i, you get a sense of how strong these characters are. Though the story its self is fictionalized, these characters come to life within it. You feel for their pain, and experience their joys for the rare treasures they are. The setting was once real and the horrors faced by these people are pretty accurately sympathized by this narration.
I'm not very good at expressing just how awesome this book is, but if you're willing to give it a shot, you won't be disappointed. The only part I disliked about this book was how fast you were taken through the life of the main character. One moment, she's a little girl, the next a teenager, and the next a grown woman. You're taken through an entire lifespan in a few short chapters, it seems, and I would have loved to explore a more complete telling of her life. Making this book longer would not have been a bad thing, by any stretch. Unlike some others, I didn't find the pacing slow at all. If anything, it was too rapid.
Moloka'i is a beautiful and haunting novel. At times the pace was slow, but I really enjoyed hearing Rachel's entire life story.
Anne Noelani Miyamoto was the perfect narrator for this book - I was transported back to the Hawaiian islands. Her voice made me want to never leave the leper island.
Great leaning experience
When Rachel's husband were free to leave and he chose not to because she could not leave.
A little bit of a slow narration but that was easy to fix by increasing the narration speed to 1.5.
There were so many it's hard to pick just one.
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