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. 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.
I really recommend this excellent book. Not only did I learn many details about the leprosarium on Kalaupapa, I felt at the end of the book as if I had actually been there. The author was so skilled that I also felt I knew the main character personally.
The book starts in the late 1800's with the main character, Rachel Kalama, at 5 years old. While I was reading, I was horrified to find out that little children who were diagnosed with leprosy at the time were forcefully parted from their families - from everything they had known - and sent to Kalaupapa. The book follows Rachel's journey to the island thru her girlhood, teen years, adult, and old age.
While listening I found it hard to believe over and over again that this book was written by a man. He captured every kind of nuance and thought that was female.
Because of this book I would someday like to visit the island and the area that housed the people with leprosy. It is now a the national park. Very much recommended, you won't regret purchasing it.
The story was interesting; a young Hawaiian girl contracts leprosy and is removed from her home to live amongst other lepers. The writing, however, was at times, very awkward and unsophisticated. It was an okay book, but it certainly wasn't one that I couldn't wait to get back to.
At times the narrator's voice bothered me; her accent was sort of a stereotypical tough Asian girl that I found rather condescending.
No. This one was enough.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can't think of another book to compare this to.
She portrayed the main charactor so well, it was like listening to her telling her own story
Other than the main character it was the nun who nurtured her all the years she lived on Molokai.
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.
Narration didn't confer the deep emotions the story deserved.
Reinforced my feelings against discrimination.
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.
In a way this book engaged me as have some by Michener and Steinbeck, and shared the Hawaiian experience as did "The Folding Cliffs".
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.
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