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The Strongest Link

This short-story collection highlights modern Hawaii life.


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Photo: Courtesy of Bamboo Press

 

Lisa Linn Kanae could teach many authors a thing or two about commanding a reader’s attention. “Claire centered one shot glass, one Alka Seltzer packet and one packaged condom on each of the six pink linen place mats …” (From her short story, “Sassy.”) Or the start of “Dragon Eyes,” which grabs you with, “When the FedEx guy delivered one dozen rubber chickens to the house …”

Both short stories, plus 10 more, are found in her thoroughly enjoyable new collection, Islands Linked by Ocean ($18, Bamboo Press). Kanae’s characters all feel like people you know, from the bored salesperson at Barnes & Noble, to the woman reminiscing about a long-ago date. “I lit a stick of coconut incense before I dotted tangerine musk behind my ears and swiped cherry-flavored gloss on my lips. I was a teenage fruit cup.”

My favorite story is “The Steersman,” an ode to a novice paddler that tackles the larger sense of being new to something, whether it’s a sport or an island. My only complaint? Her stories don’t end quite as strongly as they start. But overall, it’s a noteworthy collection.
 

Author Lisa Linn Kanae will be reading from Islands Linked by Ocean at Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii at Ward Center on Thursday, April 30, at 7 p.m.

 

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