3 New Books By Hawai‘i Writers That You Should Read Right Now

Bookmarks the spot.

A Hawai‘i girl’s real-life Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. A ’50s housewife who uproots her Mainland marriage and daughter and ends up a local surfing pioneer. Two working-class Hawaiians produce, ahem, a savior. Put down that remote!



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Miss Aluminum: A Memoir

By Susanna Moore

Ever met a mystery woman? Among Hawai‘i writers, our intriguer has been Susanna Moore. After lyric novels and memoirs of a haunted childhood among the old Kāhala elite, her books swerved into sexual adventurism before exploring the unappreciated feminism of Ka‘ahumanu. Now she’s handed us a skeleton key to her life—and it’s the book we’ve all been waiting for. It’s got Jack Nicholson, Henry Kaiser (hence the title), Marlon Brando, Joan Didion and Moore herself, exposed and adrift like a waif out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Blow your book club away.

—Released April 14, $27, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, us.macmillan.com



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Wave Woman: The Life and Struggles of a Surfing Pioneer

By Vicky Heldreich Durand

A force of nature, the heroine of Wave Woman wrests her life away from 1950s Salt Lake City to Santa Monica to Waikīkī, refusing to allow an ineffectual husband to stunt her life. There Betty Pembroke Heldreich and her daughter, Vicky, 14, learn to surf at the same time. By 1957 Mom is off to Lima, Peru, as part of the first Hawai‘i surf team, while Vicky is winning the Mākaha International Surfing Contest. What a life, what a book, as beautiful as its era, fierce in its depiction of a woman reborn in the ocean.

—Released April 7, Sparkpress, wavewomanbook.com



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Sharks in the Time of Saviors

By Kawai Strong Washburn

The night Noa is conceived in the back seat of a rusted pickup truck in Waipi‘o Valley, his kānaka maoli plantation-bound parents see night marchers. Saved from drowning by sharks, baby Noa becomes a teenage healer in hardscrabble Honolulu. Washburn’s novel starts as a series of arias by his mother, siblings and others—testimony like the Gospels (albeit ones with under-the-covers fut contests), but settles into a rare portrayal of blue-collar life—neither sentimental nor pidgin-cute, rude by design, not from lack of sophistication.

—$32.95, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, kawaistrongwashburn.com


Read more stories by Don Wallace