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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

Critic Reviews

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

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Story

Outstanding Book!

I enjoyed the flow of this book very much. I usually only listen to books for an hour or two at a time. I listened to this book on a 6 hour drive with few breaks. The main character is very real and she becomes someone you care about as the story progresses. I am not an emotional guy at all, but I had a lump in my throat at the end of this one. Noelani is not a narrator I have heard before even though I am a long time Audible listener. She was wonderful and her accent gave the story authenticity. This book is one of my all time favorites now. This book will not disappoint you!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Blaine
  • Camas, WA, United States
  • 11-01-11

Unexpected Jewel

I have to admit I didn't know anything about the author, or really about the true historical events that inspired this story. That said, I was completely overwhelmed with how much I loved it. The story itself is fascinating. The narration is superb. I listened to this almost a year ago, and rarely does a day go by that I do not think about Rachael, the main character in this story. Such depth and passion, it almost brings me to tears when I think about her and her amazing fictionalized life. Bravo, Mr. Brennert, thank you for such an amazing tale. And Miss Miyamoto could not have been better. I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Wonderful Story but narration too slow

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend reading this story, but not the audible. Although the Hawaiian accent was nice, I found the pace of the narration to be painfully slow. It took much longer to listen to and I ended up buying the hardcover. I usually prefer audible books so this is the only time I've done that. She seemed to struggle with the men's voices as well.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Brenda
  • LEAGUE CITY, TX, United States
  • 07-24-12

Interesting but the story occasionally dragged

What did you like best about Moloka’i? What did you like least?

Moloka'i was a fascinating story about a young girl who contracts Leprosy and is exiled to the Moloka'i Leper colony. It tracks her through the rest of her life and describes the challenges, experiences, and sacrifices made by those native Hawaiians who contracted the disease. I thought the story moved too slow on occasion and was anxious to get on with it in the middle .. but the end picked up and I felt the story ended well. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the subject matter.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Kim
  • Spokane, WA, United States
  • 09-27-12

Educational and touching

I had no idea there was once a leper colony in the Hawaiian islands - let alone that people were forced to give up their children and cut off contact with their loved ones once they were diagnosed. This book includes an incredible amount of historical information that you never learned when you studied Hawaii for a week in the 4th grade - and it's woven into the story in a way that doesn't even resemble deliberate educational text. The narration flows and melds into the background as the story of Rachel's journey through heartbreak and eventual healing unfolds. Plenty of interesting characters, well written, & well told - I give it 3 stars without hesitation.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Engaging account with lush descriptions

The characters are alive in this historical novel describing the life of a woman first diagnosed and sent to a leper colony as a young girl. It spans the time from absolute repulsion at the diagnosis to treatment and return to society. Excellently narrated and connected to world events.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Joy
  • Annapolis MD United States
  • 03-12-13

Great history lesson presented in fiction

I purchased this book because I love all things Hawaiian and to be honest, did not have any real expectations except for a history lesson. Once I started listening, I couldn't put it down. While clearly written as fictional, there was a considerable amount of research into the leper colony of Moloka'i. The story wonderfully weaves the story of fictional characters into what it must have been like for the lepers in reality. The story is heartbreaking yet uplifting.To hear of the trauma the residents endured and in turn how they over came the hardship and made a life for themselves. This book is definitely worth the credit.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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So much more than I expected!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It is a great and gripping story while teaching you a lot about the disease and Hawaii culture.

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

I listened to this book for a book club and because I listened, I got all the names and pronunciation correct. You can hear that she is Hawaiian.

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

I cried three times. While driving. Twice because of unbearable sadness and once because of happiness.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Eye-opening History, if a bit spoon-fed.

While this is a novel, the historical basis seems to be well researched and presented. The slow-paced narration makes the story seem juvenile, but getting the deep background of this part of Hawaiian history makes it worth hanging in there. Thorough character development made me care about the people in the story, but I was never able to cross the line into forgetting it was just a story. The medical and social aspects of Hanson's disease are compellingly presented. If you're familiar with the islands the story becomes more alive, as the descriptions of the localities will ring true. For a broader look at Hawaiian history, I would also recommend Sarah Vowel's "Unfamiliar Fishes", here on audible.com.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very Slow

Interesting novel about the life of a young girl growing up on a Hawaian island where people with leoprosy are sent. I was unaware that this island actually existed, in fact 30 people who were sent there with leopracy still live there today.
That being said this is a very wordy and slow listen. I wouldn't recommend listening to it, if the topic interests you, research the island Mololai and leopracy.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful