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)
A life long journey full of characters, experiences, sorrows, joys. Rachel and her story drew me in and held me through to the end. Not a frivolous story and historically fascinating. Well written and well narrated.
I no longer live in Worcester. I now live in Brooklyn, NY.
Legends and stories of old Hawaii artfully woven into the plot. Main character is thoroughly developed.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I've visited Hawai'i several times and frequently stay on Maui near LaHina..there is a view of Moloka'i from the condo I rent and I knew, vaguely, the history of the island. This book is a detailed fictional take on the story of a young Hawaiian girl who contracts Hanson's Disease-or Leprosy as it was known during the 1930's, when the book starts.
The story has been fictionalized and it's a real tear jerker but worth listening to. I didn't feel it was depressing, just very sad. The beauty of the islands and the island culture is fairly represented.
Along with the information about Leprosy, the book also touches on the literal theft of the nation of Hawai'i by the United States and the theft of their religion, their Kings and Queens and even surfing by the influx of the Evangelical religious who came to the islands and demanded they totally change their way of life.
Yes, the religious did good work caring for the Lepers who were condemned to Moloka'i but the disease was brought to the islands by the influx of the Western Civilization...It's the kind of history that can make a citizen of the US ashamed at the way we behaved..and continue to behave towards other nations. I don't remember the exact figures, but the Hawai'ian peoples lost over 3/4 of their population by imported diseases...much like Native Americans.
The book is a bit clumsy in writing but it comes from the authors heart, I'm sure. It was worth the credit. The next time I go to Hawai'i I'm going to take a tour of Moloka'i.
No. Thought it was only OK.
The story moved along predictably. Enjoyed it only for the history of Molokai and the Hawaiian lore.
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