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I Myself Have Seen It
The islands of Hawaii have often served Susanna Moore as the canvas for her lush and haunting novels. InI Myself have Seen It,she proves the mystery, beauty, and myth of her native islands to be every bit as compelling as her fiction. She interweaves her own memories of growing up in Honolulu in the 1950s and '60s with a concise chronicle of Hawaii's two-hundred-year encou ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by National Geographic
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I thought I would like this book quite a bit because I enjoy reading Hawaiian history and personal memoirs. I expected some thoughtful integration of the author’s personal history and sense of place in Hawaii in a progression of chapters. However, the chapters ramble on with random ideas and do not develop into a coherent whole. The Hawaiian history chapters are dry and shallow recitation of fact without focus or relation to one another. The personal history chapters follow abruptly with no tran ...more
Elegant but not sentimental. Hers may not be "the" story of Hawai'i - of course it isn't - but she writes with grace and intelligence. Most books about Hawai'i deal with the stories and experiences of Japanese, Portuguese, Filipino, hapa and Native people - clearly these are critical voices, absolutely integral to the story of Hawai'i. The white voices, though, are just as legitimate - as stories, as pieces of the modern history of the place. A lot of the criticism of this book and of Moore seem ...more
Part of the National Geographic Directions imprint, wherein 'literary' writers wax poetic about a place of personal significance. Other titles in the series include Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country by Louise Erdrich and Mr. Jefferson's University, by Garry Wills. I'm a sucker for this type of thing, even though, in my experience, disappointment is almost inevitable (I'm thinking of the Penguin Lives series). Despite the dangling possibility of a match made in heaven ("Larry McMurtry on Crazy ...more
If we take for myth an exaltation of the primeval reality that satisfies moral cravings as well as practical needs, my assumption of the myths of a race not my own, a race nearly annihilated by my kind, possesses a romanticism full of irony, an identification with the past, and a self-delighting pride at being a liminal participant in an authentic culture that continues, despite attempts to the contrary, to fear the ghostly night marchers and to honor the goddess of fire and her terrifying relat ...more
I don't know what inspired me to pick this up: I've never been to Hawaii and don't really have a strong urge to go. This book makes the history come alive through letters and vivid research. I was a little disappointed that the author skipped over 1940-present. The last few chapters focus on the author's childhood and it seemed like a big disconnect so I skipped them. I think she might have been more successful if she'd either woven anecdotes throughout or skipped them altogether.
I was disappointed in this book. What I expected was a memoir of a white woman growing up in Hawaii in the 1960s. I wanted to read a coming-of-age story with Hawaii as its lush backdrop, adding its own unique fingerprint on the process of growing up. Instead what I got was a chronological retelling of the history of Hawaii, which was not bad in and of itself, but not at all what I was looking for.
God I loved this book. This is one of my favorite authors. I read her Hawaiian trilogy (I think of them that way) but her memoirs are really wonderful. I loved her references to legendary Hawaiian storyteller Harriet Ne and her quirky fondness for saying "I myself have seen it" in all her stories. Moore writes the way I wish I could. Each page, each rememberance is precious.
I myself have seen it.
I myself have seen it.
I loved this glimpse into Hawaii's past - something I hear my relatives speak of but I came along a little too late to have seen. This book is for people who love and know Hawaii, not the Hawaii of tourists or Hollywood, but those who know what you are risking should you drive over the Pali with kalua pork in the car.
Susanna Moore is the author of the novels One Last Look, In the Cut, The Whiteness of Bones, Sleeping Beauties, and My Old Sweetheart, which won the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for First Fiction, and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her nonfiction travel book, I Myself Have Seen It, was published by the National Geographic Society in ...moreMore about Susanna Moore...