Sharks in the Time of Saviours
Kawai Strong Washburn
‘The novel you never knew you were waiting for’ Marlon James
‘As vivid as it is splendid’ New York Times
‘I didn’t want it to end’ Sarah Moss
A Barack Obama Book of the Year. Named one of the Best Books of 2020 by New York Times, Guardian, Irish Times, Oprah Magazine, BBC Culture, Good Housekeeping, Kirkus Reviews and Amazon
In 1995 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores is saved from drowning by a shiver of sharks. His family, struggling to make ends meet amidst the collapse of the sugar cane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favour from ancient Hawaiian gods.
But as time passes, this hope gives way to economic realities, forcing Nainoa and his siblings to seek salvation across the continental United States, leaving behind home and family.
With a profound command of language, Washburn’s powerful debut novel examines what it means to be both of a place, and a stranger in it.
Imagine The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen imbued with Hawaiian mysticism, and you might get a sense of this searing sibling saga about a boy gifted with supernatural healing abilities - and the family who lives in his shadow * * Oprah Magazine, 30 Most Anticipated Books of 2020 * * One of the most richly imagined and evocative debuts in recent memory . . . The writing is dazzling, captivating, all-seeing. The language is lyrical and lush and also muscular and gnarled . . . To say I found the novel to be impressive is an understatement. I was enthralled by the world captured in its pages and, once I turned the final page, found myself wanting more * * Los Angeles Review of Books * * This daredevil debut will appeal to fans of A Little Life, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Life of Pi -- NetGalley Brilliant * * Financial Times * * Washburn's buzzy debut novel explores the shifting bonds of family and the inescapable pull of home * * New York Times, 13 Notable New Titles * * Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a story of trauma passed down through the generations, of how poverty, grief, and broken dreams weave their way through the lives of one family. Yet it is a story told with joy, even humour, in lyrical, hypnotic prose that will stay with you long after you turn the last page -- TAHMIMA ANAM, author of THE BONES OF GRACE Sharks in the Time of Saviours bursts with life. It is bright and beautifully noisy. It's so good it hurts and hurts to where it heals. It is revelatory and unputdownable. Washburn is an extraordinarily brilliant new talent. This family saga is shark tooth sharp. Its pages shoot off crackles and sparks, and you come out of it changed. It is sublime -- TOMMY ORANGE, author of THERE, THERE As vivid as it is splendid . . . This may be his debut, but he proves himself an old hand at dissecting the ways in which places - our connections to them, our disconnections from them - break us and remake us . . . With prose that can be breathy and sweaty in one paragraph before gliding softly and tenderly into the next, this passionate writer cries out for us to see Hawaii in its totality: as a place of proud ancestors and gods and spirits, but also of crumbling families and hopelessness and poverty. Of mystery and beauty at every corner * * New York Times * * Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a brilliant novel and one of the most engaging and memorable books I've read this year. Sentences sparkle, the narrative voices remain distinctive and complete, and the deep notes of magic sound under the realism of poverty and loss. I didn't want it to end -- SARAH MOSS The novel you never knew you were waiting for. Old myths clash with new realities, love is in a ride or die with grief, faith rubs hard against magic, and comic flips with tragic so much they meld into something new. All told with daredevil lyricism to burn. A ferocious debut -- MARLON JAMES
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