House of Many Gods
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House of Many Gods

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  301 ratings  ·  55 reviews
From Kiana Davenport, the bestselling author of Song of the Exile and Shark Dialogues, comes another mesmerizing novel about her people and her islands. Told in spellbinding and mythic prose, House of Many Gods is a deeply complex and provocative love story set against the background of Hawaii and Russia. Interwoven throughout with the indelible portrait of a native Hawaii...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2006)
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this book was beautifully written. it follows two stories that gradually interweave. one about a native hawaiian family struggling with poverty, drugs, and unjust u.s. military practices in hawaii. the other about a boy growing up in post world war two russia.

much of the book was horribly depressing, as it dealt with the effects of nuclear testing on civilian populations. thinking of all the lives lost, genetic mutations, birth defects, and cancers caused by all of the nuclear fallout is really...more
Kiana Davenport is at her best when describing the world of Hawaii's native people, and she does it well here. Touched with lyricism and the language of a people unknown to many of us, this novel rings with truth and leaves the sadness and mystery of a real life in its wake.

Ana is raised in her extended family's home and yearns for her absent mother. Redemption, forgiveness, and acceptance must all be taught at a hard price to Ana and her mother in this novel. At times I wanted to shake Ana; th...more
This was a wonderful book, especially if you have an interest in Hawai'i and the maoli kanaka (local folks). Davenport's story tells how ohana (family) and hoa aloha (friends) can sometimes hurt but ultimately heal. I loved her main characters. They certainly rang true for me. The book's secondary theme--worldwide environmental pollution caused by nuclear waste--I felt was handled in a predictable and sometimes heavy hitting way, though I have the same point of view as Davenport.

Reading others'...more
Anne Broyles
What I liked:
*descriptions of Hawaii, its landscape, people and culture
*learning about how the U.S.government used the Hawaiian Islands as bomb testing grounds, which destroyed the environment and imperiled residents' health
*experiencing a different economic class than is usually portrayed in novels about Hawaii
*the idea of the plot (two people who have been bruised and battered by their circumstances find an unlikely love)
*the cover

What I disliked:
*few of the characters were believable
*I found...more
Missy Sherriff
A 3.5 for me. Beautifully written at times, but I felt the author tried to do too much. The book would have improved dramatically if it had been more focused. There was definitely one central character, but other characters and their stories were ALMOST as central, and although these characters were integral to the main character, their stories should have been presented more as background and less as equivalent story lines. It almost felt like 3 separate but related novels should have been writ...more
This was a nice book about both Hawaii and Russia. I have to admit that I didn't find this to be exactly a page turner. It took me about three weeks to get through it and while I was interested in the characters, I wouldn't say it was riveting. I guess I felt this way because I found the main character a little standoffish. She spent half the book hating her mother then the next half ignoring her family. She couldn't get over the events that happened to her and actually live. At times I just wan...more
For fans of Kiana Davenport, this book does not disappoint. It again explores history - this time that of Hawaii and Russia. It again challenges the reader to explore current day issues - this time the potential consequences of environmental pollution. And, again, she draws us into the lives of people damaged by drugs, war, poverty, stubbornness and despair. Kiana Davenport has a gift for describing Hawaii and its people while weaving in several detailed, and sometimes odd, story lines. Whether...more
Jul 20, 2008 Holly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in Hawaiian and Russian Cultures.
Shelves: cultural-novels
As a transplant to Hawaii, I am always interested in learning more about the Hawaiian people and their culture. This story takes place on the Waianae coast of Oahu, a largely poor Hawaiian area. It is a story that weaves together themes of Ohana (family), especially mothers and daughters, the politics of marginalization of cultures, the detrimental effects of military bombing and toxic waste and a love story! The lead male character is from Russia, and the book describes the harsh conditions mos...more
Val Wilkerson
Another great book by Kiana Davenport. Her two main characters are Ana, native hawaiian
girl, raised by her aunties & uncles after her mother left her when she was only 4 to
move to San Francisco. It seemed like a cruel thing for Anahola, her mother to have done,
but you fall in love with the aunties and uncles. Makes you think about your own aunts
and uncles and what a truly important role they play in our lives. The other main character
is Niki, born in Russia into poverty and cold. Ana & N...more
Susan  Odetta
I read this when it was first publishes, the third of Davenport's novels set in Hawaii. This story extends from Nanakuli, on the island of Oahu, to Archangel'sk, in Russia. Usually I devour good stories, but this one floored me. I would read a little and begin crying, pretty soon sobbing, and I couldn't read the words, so I would have to put it down and come back later to the story. And the story, oh my, love, loss and redemption in abundance. I couldn't pick up another book for days after finis...more
In House of Many Gods, Davenport brings together the disparate cultures of Hawaii and Russia in this novel of cultural history, personal longing, political activism and government control. The most obvious connection Davenport makes in the book between the two places are the military bombing of the Hawaiian islands, specifically Makua Valley, and the Soviet nuclear fallout and testing on her own people and land. This book filled me with a strong sense of melancholy every time I picked it up, so...more
Mirah W
I really enjoyed the historical backdrop of this book...the Hawaiian and Russian cultures, languages, and histories. And also to see the parallels between the lives of Ana and Niki. I like that the characters were flawed but even in their flaws they had positive aspects. Sometimes Ana would bring me down. She seemed to think her life had been harder than anyone else's. She didn't really step out of her comfort zone and recognize she wasn't the only one suffering until towards the end of the book...more
This was a difficult book to get through because of the amount of pain in it. In fact, I returned it to the library about two-thirds of the way through, thinking I didn't want to keep experiencing it -- but the characters continued to haunt me, so I checked it out again to finish it. I'm glad I did. The story is ultimately a redemptive one, asserting the power of love and family.

This story opened up a previously unknown-to-me world of native Hawaiians and the cultural and ecological impact of ou...more
Al Canary
As with some of this Author's previous work, I had to remind myself that it was fiction. I found myself weeping at the the storyline which (I found) beautifully written. And really had to strain my credibily thru some of chapters. EX; 1. Nikolai's birth circumstances. 2. His adult scarring explained as the marks of wolves gnawing at him, while in a semi-frozen state. 3. Ana's baby arrives 2 Mths early, but presents at a very healthy 8+ pounds.

All in all a very riviting read... Well done & I...more
Roxanne / RoMoSquare
This was a beautifully written book, and I loved the scenery from both the islands and Russia, but the book as a whole didn't really come together for me. I wasn't feeling the passion between the two main characters that led to the dramatic ending. I think that was actually the author's intention, since these characters were pretty messed up and incapable of normal emotion due to their unusual upbringings, but it just didn't gel for me, especially with Ana. I look forward to reading more by this...more
Mary Ann
Aug 22, 2011 Mary Ann rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like Hawaiian or Russian culture.
Recommended to Mary Ann by: review
What I enjoyed most about this book were the vivid descriptions of Hawaii and Russia. What I didn't like was the way they were morphed together in the same book. There were some vauge similarities, but generally these are two completely opposite cultures that would be very difficult to weave together. As separate stories I would have enjoyed them much better! All that said, the book was well written and I enjoyed the author's style. I will look for other books by her in the future.
Doranne Long
Kiana Davenport is one of my favorite authors. She writes with gritty truth. She helps me to understand life is not easy for many and there are many layers to our lives, some of them not pretty but they form us to be who we are. I have more respect for others' lives and cultures; it is not my place to stomp all over someone's life, culture, or land!
LOVED this book and I highly recommend it, whether yoga re a lover of all things Hawaiian or not. It is a well-crafted tale of two cultures, Hawaiian and Russian - fairly odd bed-fellows but with more in common than one might think. Loved all of the ancient Hawaiian customs and language, and the huge family dynamic. Highly recommend this.
Kiana Davenport write prose like it's poetry. I loved seeing Hawaii from her eyes. Oh, and books with maps always light my fire a little bit. This one has two! And a Hawaiian phrase glossary in the back. You don't need it to understand the book. My interest leveled off toward the end. I still need to skim the conclusion...
This book was OK - I never felt the need to abandon reading it, but it didn't really pull me in either. I was not drawn to the writing - I felt it jumped around too much, and really didn't lend itself to truly great character development. It had good moments that had the potential of being great, but just fell short to me.
Sep 02, 2008 Kay rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kay by: Jill Abbott
Beautiful pictures of a Hawaii the tourist doesn't see and an eyeopener about what has been done to the island by "us." Relationships among the characters are a glimpse into a fraught but tender world. I am glad my friend recommended this to me a few years ago. I would read more of her books, too.
Apr 04, 2008 Beth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
Couldn't put it down, loved the imagery, the soulfulness, the hard look at the damage we have all done to this world and tro each other in a nuclear age, yet redemptive, and lingering with a sweetness that comes from the kind of resolutions only forgiveness and love can bring about.
If you don't believe me when I say that Hawaii locals don't like white people or military people, read this book and you might understand why. Also, if you have any desire to travel to Russia, read this book and it will suck all that desire out of you. Kind of da kine.
Kiana Davenport has a gift for figurative language. With words she paints vivid pictures of the people and the landscape of Hawaii. Her theme of loss is multi-layered. Within her twisting plot, she includes the dangers of atomic fallout on people and the environment.
I am surprised at the poor reviews of this book. I love reading the work of Kiana Davenport. It is an almost mystical experience for me. This is the first book of hers that I have read while not in Hawaii but the writing puts me there in my head, and my heart.
Meaghan Enright
Great novel, very interesting re: Hawaiian and Russian culture, also interesting commentary on radiation/radiation sickness in not only Hawaii and Russia but around the world, and culture clashes/generational clashes. Definitely a compelling read.
The story of a native hawaiian girl meeting a russian man. I like how the author compares and contrasts the people/culture/landscape/values. Mostly I enjoyed reading about Oahu and its people and natual beauty. Gotta love escapism
So happy to have discovered this author. This book is so unique; it taught me so much about Oahu and the native Hawaiian culture while also telling an engrossing story. I'm going to the library this week to find her other novels.
Kiana Davenport's books are about Hawaiian families, and the family in this book, I think, is the same family in Song of the Exile, but a different generation. This book is another love story and it deals with human rights.
A pretty good book that really builds some truths about reality into a well woven fiction. She's not afraid to talk about the bombing being done by our government in the Hawaiian Islands and how it affects the people there.
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