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Song of the Exile
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Song of the Exile

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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  605 ratings  ·  102 reviews
In this epic, original novel in which Hawaii's fierce, sweeping past springs to life, Kiana Davenport, author of the acclaimed Shark Dialogues, draws upon the remarkable stories of her people to create a timeless, passionate tale of love and survival, tragedy and triumph, survival and transcendence. In spellbinding, sensual prose, Song of the Exile follows the fortunes of ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 5th 2000 by Ballantine Books (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,239)
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Sandy
This is one of the best books I've ever read - I may select it as my next book club pick. I had a hard time getting into it, but it ended up being a beautiful book. The story takes place in and out of Hawaii before, during, and after World War II and before statehood. Somehow it blends the horrors for women in WWII with stories about native Hawaiians - their early pidgen talk, tales passed down through generations, the human spirit, the power of women, and much, much more. Kiana Davenport's writ ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
It's been awhile since I read Shark Dialogues, and I'd forgotten the sensual Hawaiian-ness in Davenport's writing style. Every one of the senses is wide awake and open to a deep experience of the physical world.
Laurie Hanan
If anything, I loved this book even more than Shark Dialogues. It haunts me in a way I can't describe. The images it left me with will always be with me. The author, through interviews with World War II survivors, managed to grasp the abominations of war as well as anyone could. She hauntingly articulates the horrors war inflicts on both the conqueror and the conquered, and how the two are sometimes interchangeable.

The books opens with Sunny, held in the most horrific conditions imaginable, in a
...more
Sealove
A truly moving tale about the lives and tragedies surrounding WWII and the melting pot of pacific cultures called Hawaii.

The author explores relationships between men and women, duty and destiny in ways that are striking and unforgettable.

This is a portrait that I will never forget... Not an easy one to take in, but a powerful tale and a story that makes me a more empathetic and compassionate storyteller! Well done!
Susan
This is one of the most beautiful but difficult books to read.....her prose reads like poetry and the historical information contained in the plot is well researched and heartbreaking.....one of my top 10 favorite books...
Susan  Odetta
"Ha'ina mai ka puana." Let the story be told.

I read Kiana Davenport's books several years ago, in order starting with "Shark Dialogues", which had such a powerful effect on me that it continues to haunt me. The first time I read "Song of the Exile" I became so overwhelmed by the horror and sorrow suffered by the main characters that I could not recall any specifics about the story, left with only the vague feelings of decay and loss beyond comprehension. So I finally decided to pick up the book
...more
Lucero
Song of the Exile by Kiana Davenport is a historical fiction novel set in the islands of Hawaii. The novel is about two characters, Keo and Sunny and their romance but also how they are torn apart by World War 2 and the Japanese invasion of Hawaii. The two lovers are first drifted apart when Keo makes the decision to leave his home and love, Sunny, in Hawaii and go to New Orleans in America to try and carry out his career as a musician so that he can return and provide a better life for Sunny an ...more
Stephanie
This book, at the core, was interesting. However, I felt that it was flawed in many ways, which ultimately took away from how much I enjoyed the experience of reading it.
Positives:
1. Lots of great and intriguing historical information (Hawaii becoming a state, WWII, Hawaiian folklore and mythology, comfort women)
2. Some of the characters had interesting lives - mostly ones that didn't get near enough focus - but they were enjoyable to read for the most part

Negatives:
1. WAY WAY WAY too much desc
...more
❀ Mary ❀
Aleluya!!! Finalmente lo terminé! No es que el libro sea malo es que evoca demasiadas emociones fuertes y te deja mentalmente agotada.

La verdad que es fantástica la forma de narrar de Kiana Davenport, realmente me sentí viviendo en Honolulu todo este mes. La historia sigue las vidas de Keo un nativo de Honolulu cuya pasión es el jazz y a Sunny una joven coreano-hawaina que estudia en la universidad pero que es la persona que le da el empujón a Keo para que salga al mundo a conocer las ciudades
...more
Arianne
Apr 18, 2007 Arianne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Vanessa, Cindy, Carolyn
I read this book in Peace Corps and haven't read it since, but I dreamt about it for years, and have finally discovered what the title is again. I am definitely going to re-read it.

Here is the synopsis:

In this epic, original novel in which Hawaii's fierce, sweeping past springs to life, Kiana Davenport, author of the acclaimed Shark Dialogues, draws upon the remarkable stories of her people to create a timeless, passionate tale of love and survival, tragedy and triumph, survival and transcendenc
...more
Lori
I actually read this when it was first published but had not remembered until a few pages into it, but it was so good I decided to read it again.

It's a very poetic novel and she describes music better than any writer I've ever read. It's a good story with good characters and she possesses that amazing ability to take you to the place she writes about.

It's one of those beautiful novels you almost have to put down because the imagery and poetry is so intense it doesn't absorb you as much as it p
...more
Laurel
Very good. I would have given this book five stars if not for the ending, which I feel was not as strong as it should have been to finish off this amazingly written book. I would have liked to see more closure between the characters, and more resolution for one of the book's major storylines.

I could wax poetic about this book for a while, but it's fairly late at night so I'm going to have to leave it at this: this book is the work of an artist. The words paint pictures in your head with stunning
...more
Al Canary
Published in 1999..... I only recently discovered this Author on the listing & ordered this title )from my Public Public Library together with "House of Many Gods (2006)

The Library gave my a blank on "Shark Dialogs" (1994) Hmmmmmm, which I was able to find via Bookreads source listing (Amazon Used Books)

Expecting 'Historical Ficton' I was moved to tears by the writers almost dreamlike prose taking the reader thru some of the most horrifying atrocities against the so-called "comfort women" t
...more
Janet
Oct 18, 2008 Janet rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
I absolutely loved Kiana Davenports other book 'Shark Dialog' and was excited to come accross her other books by accident.

I enjoy reading about Hawaian history as well as the people and landscape of the islands. Kiana Davenport does a masterful job of transporting you to not only the beauty of the islands but also the horrors of war. I must say I was not prepared for the path the characters Sunny and Keo end up taking. At times I was tempted to put the book down, it was just too difficult to dig
...more
Brittney
I love books about Hawaii. I love the mysticism innately woven into any story about its history. Like "Shark Dialogues," this one did not disappoint. I never knew about comfort women and beyond being hideously shocked and outraged by their treatment during WWII, Davenport has created a fantastic mix of Hawaiian culture blended with wartime atrocities, of Jazz music and the cries of loss flowing into one melody. Yes, there are some lengthy descriptions that do not necessarily contribute to plot, ...more
Ulla-riitta Mankki
But this is a treasure! There are many books written of the Second World War from the european point of wiev, but this is something more unusual. The story makes us not to forgot the violence and the brutal side of war. Furthermore, it throws light on the untold fact, how women in common become the victims of the war.
Monika
Kiana Davenport's stories are magical. There's really no other way to put it. She intertwines multiple histories and story lines into a beautiful tapestry of that slowly pulls you in and then wraps itself around you and doesn't let you go.

Song of the Exile tells the story of a Hawaiian musician who goes to war and leaves his love behind. But that's only one thread. Along the way, we learn about the history of Hawaiian culture and the experiences of the Chinese during the Japan occupation. Daven
...more
Diane Scheurell
Kiana is an excellent writer who makes her story come alive with rich imagery. I just didn't happen to like the outcome of this story. I prefer a happy ending. The material can be intense at times; the book discusses comfort women used and abused by Japanese soldiers during WWII.
Barbara Justiniano
I read this book for our book club's September read. Excellent story of love, loss, war,redemption,and healing. This novel was quite amazing. The story telling wonderful. This is the first book I've read by this author, but now I am definitely going to read more of her work. Pick up this book and I guarantee you will not put it down.
Enid
This book isn't my usual type of read but it was the book of the month in our book club. I liked the story and characters though I didn't like the way it ended. If you are into music and instruments and history you will really enjoy it.
MicheleinNJ
What to say? This is a page-turner but often very, very grim. It is the story of a man and a woman separated by war and the horrible things they each endure, he in a prison camp and she as a "comfort woman" to Japanese soldiers. Horrible, horrible things happen to both of them, but most especially to the woman. The knowledge that this kind of thing really did happen is just too depressing to contemplate. Details about other members of both their families, mostly the man's, are woven into the nov ...more
Britt
This incredibly written novel tells the story of Hawaii during World War II. And I think it's the saddest book I've ever read! It is graphic, violent and heartbreaking – just like the war.
Liza Gonzalez
I highly recommend this book, however, it is not a light read. It's a deeply moving story about love and war like no other. Be warned the scenes of conflict and war are not for the fainthearted. The writing is descriptive and it will shed some light on how gruesome it was in Asia during WWII. However, it is a book to be enjoyed and a great one for book clubs if your group enjoys deep discussions.
Cher
This has to be one of the most eye opening stories I’ve ever read. This historical fiction novel paints a vivid, passionate and horrific tale of WWII and its aftermath. The heartbreaking love story is one thing…but the overwhelming cruelty of war is almost too much to bare—nothing like taught in history classes. If you can bear the heart rendering atrocities of the male and female prison camps, you will be rewarded with a rich and moving tale about the culture and history of the Hawaiian people. ...more
Lisa Russell
Loved it....I felt I didn't get to know a couple of the characters very well but that didn't detract from it being a great book!
Roya
I found this book on a bookshelf in the condo I am renting in Kauai. The blurb sounded intriguing and I enjoy historical fiction. I downloaded the e-book because I was not sure I could finish it before leaving. I have finished it, and the story is a captivating one. It offers a different perspective of World War II history and beyond. I sometimes felt the narrative got bogged down in pages and pages of flowery, poetic descriptions that I sometimes found at odds with, in competition with, and dis ...more
Crystal
This is an epic book and by far the best book I've ever read. This book is so different from all the other books I usually read, which are usually Young Adult Fiction or Para-normal stuff, and at first I wasn't even going to read this book because I didn't think I'd enjoy it.

Once I started reading this book though, I was overwhelmed by the way the author, Kiana Davenport, tells the story. It's so beautiful, and even the most horrible things that she write within this book are still written so b
...more
Gail
" Davenport again sets her book in Hawaii, then follows a diverse and captivating cast of characters across the globe through events determined by World War II and its aftermath. From Honolulu to New Orleans, Paris to New Britain, Shanghai to Kowloon, Song of the Exile features rich locations as varied and ultimately as haunted as its characters."
This was a powerful book about love and the cruelty of war. The characters are sharply portrayed and what happened to them was heart wrenching. It was
...more
Jennifer
This was an intense read, so moving and startling I walked around in a daze until I finished it. I was so shocked by what happened to the women in the Japanese prison camps. The main character's strength was astounding. What a heart breaker!
Merry
This must be a really good book, as it has overall ratings of 4+ both on Goodreads and on Amazon. I absolutely agree that the writing style was beautiful: very poetic and descriptive. It reminded me very much of Edna St. Vincent Millay's style of writing poetry. However, the reason I didn't like it was due to the author's ability to describe events in such detail when it came to the horrible gory parts of the war. I found it gloomy, disturbing, and just nothing I wanted to read. Sorry, Sandy, as ...more
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KIANA DAVENPORT is descended from a full-blooded Native Hawaiian mother, and a Caucasian father from Talladega, Alabama. Her father, Braxton Bragg Davenport, was a sailor in the U.S. Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor, when he fell in love with her mother, Emma Kealoha Awaawa Kanoho Houghtailing. On her mother's side, Kiana traces her ancestry back to the first Polynesian settlers to the Hawaiian Isl ...more
More about Kiana Davenport...
Shark Dialogues House of Many Gods Spy Lover, The: A Novel House of Skin: Prize-Winning Stories CANNIBAL NIGHTS Pacific Stories, Volume II

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