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Sharks in the Time of Saviors

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  491 ratings  ·  149 reviews
"Sharks in the Time of Saviors is the story of a family, a people, and a legend, all wrapped in one. Faith and grief, rage and love, this book pulses with all of it. Kawai Strong Washburn makes his debut with a wealth of talent and a true artist's eye." --Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by MCD
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  • Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn
    Sharks in the Time of Saviors
    Release date: Mar 03, 2020
    Enter for a chance of 1 of 35 copies of Sharks in the Time of Saviors, written by Kawai Strong Washburn.

    In 1995, Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i, on a rare

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    Kawai Everyone has their own ideas of what's appropriate for children at what age, so my best answer is to describe the potentially problematic content:…moreEveryone has their own ideas of what's appropriate for children at what age, so my best answer is to describe the potentially problematic content: recreational drug use, profanity, complicated sexuality, and a few scenes of potentially uncomfortable material including homophobia and sexism (although these last two are relatively brief). Having said all that, it's probably most appropriate for those high school age or older, and the younger kids that sneak off with it (you know who you were) are probably ready for it anyway.(less)

    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 4.06  · 
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     ·  491 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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    Jon Nakapalau
    Magical realism is interwoven with the legends of Hawaii in this haunting novel about family and destiny. When Nainoa Flores falls into the Pacific Ocean it seems as if this is the end when sharks start to appear in the water. Everyone is sure the child will meet with a tragic end until (Noa) is gently delivered back to his mother in the jaws of a shark. In Hawaiian legends Kāmohoaliʻi is the shark god associated with protection and guidance; families that relied upon the sea for a livelihood ...more
    Jan 16, 2020 marked it as to-read
    Shelves: shaaaaarks, arcstack
    this arrived at my house; unexpected, unrequested, so to whatever book fairy over at MCD knows who i am (and where i live), thank you and happy early shark week!

    The Artisan Geek
    Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: bookcase

    The author was so kind to send me a copy. Can't wait to start reading!

    You can find me on
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    Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I am not a fan of magical realism but this Hawaiian family narrative is filled with the primal power of the Hula. A throbbing story that addresses head-on the issues of class, race, and poverty. You can feel the rhythm of islands chanting for recognition of its lore, fables, and legends through this family bound together by love and their undulating homeland that will not be ignored.

    Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
    Shelves: 2020-favorites
    Pretty great. There was a lot of olfactory stuff going on in the middle. Could probably use a few less f-bombs.

    This is worth a read:
    Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Sharks in the Time of Saviours is the first novel by Hawaiian-born author, Kawai Strong Washburn. Conceived on a night when the gods roam the Big Island, Nainao Flores is different from the start, and it eventually becomes more apparent how special he is. Gifted (or plagued) with premonitory visions, saved by sharks, able to heal, a boy so singular is bound to be treated differently. So young, yet believing himself charged with the salvation of the islands.

    But this (perhaps) messiah is not an
    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    The author of Sharks in the Time of Saviours, was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. This grounding has put the author in good stead to produce an authentic novel set in Hawaiʻi. Kawai Strong Washburn presents a contextual family drama, that encompasses themes of class, poverty, economics, opportunity, culture, old world faith, belief systems, magical realism and survival.

    Opening in the year 1994, Sharks in the Time of Saviours simultaneously reveals the cultural fabric of this
    Gloria Arthur

    Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a Hawaiian family saga.

    The story begins when this family who are trying to make ends meet are taking a rare holiday and seven-year-old Ninoa falls overboard into the ocean and is dangerously surrounded by four sharks. Miraculously he is carried safety and gently back to the boat in the mouth of a shark.

    Through this freak act of nature Ninoa then becomes a legend and is thought to be gifted with special powers of the gods that will heal people. His siblings
    Anna Luce
    DNF 25%

    The summary, title, and cover of Sharks in the Time of Saviors piqued my interest. Magical realism? A not so rosy take on the 'chosen one'? Yes, please.

    Sadly, 1/4 in and I find the story to be far more focused on Nainoa's siblings who whine about how overshadowed they feel by him and how unfair it all is that their parents pay him more attention. And...while I was expecting the novel to touch upon sibling rivalry, I wasn't prepared for it to be the sole focus of the story.
    Nainoa has very
    Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: giveaways
    I can not wait until others have had the chance to read this book! It is that good.

    This new author writes like a poet. Each chapter tells a different story, each story better than the last. This is a story about a family that goes through hell while living in what many as describe as heaven (Hawaii). The story is sad on so many levels, but it keeps you reading to see what will happen next.

    In my opinion, parts is this book left itself open to interpretation, especially the end. Because of this,
    Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Sharks In the Time of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn is technically my first read of 2020 and what a truly enthralling read. So much so I stayed up way past midnight to finish it! This is a book that needs to be experienced, to be breathed in to your soul and made a part of you. It is one I can see myself reading again and again over the years.
    The story takes place in Hawaii, O'ahu, and the mainland. The writing is so transportive I felt like I was back visiting again for a short time.

    It is
    Suzanne thebookblondie
    Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn (#21 in 2020)

    Thank you to @mcdbooks @fsgbooks for my gifted copy. PUB DATE: 3/3/2020

    When Nainoa was 7 years old, he fell overboard on a family trip. As sharks began to appear in the water, everyone naturally assumed that Noa was a goner. One of the sharks however, cradled Noa in its jaws and carefully brought him back to his family. It was as if the sharks recognized the greatness in Noa and knew his time on earth was worth more than a meal.
    Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Review to come. This is the Hawaiian book that my soul has been wanting to read.
    Jordy’s Book Club
    Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
    QUICK TAKE: multicultural family drama with a hint of Hawaiian mysticism. Loved the family dynamics and the specificity of the storytelling. Is it But Washburn is for sure an author to keep an eye on.
    Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Sharks in the Time of Saviors is a tour de force. Kawai Strong Washburn beautifully weaves together this stunning family saga while paying homage to his own Hawai'ian roots. The story is infused with supernatural elements and native folklore in a way that feels reminiscent of Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. An excellent read for fans of literary magical realism. Many thanks to MCD and Goodreads for sending me a copy!

    Full disclosure: I received a free advance reading copy via
    Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I actually Finished Kawai Strong Washburns Sharks in the Time of Saviors on its publication day, which was yesterday, but I needed a whole night to sleep on it, because, wow. About a family who builds their identity around one child rescued by sharks and seemingly carrying sacred abilities within his body, this book details how those expectations dull some, harm others, and divide a family and the power that would otherwise be held within that unit. About sibling rivalry, about the grinding ...more
    Mar 16, 2020 marked it as dnf
    Shelves: fiction, netgalley
    DNF @ 4%

    4% of the book is enough to tell that this prose is 100% not for me.
    Jennifer (JC-S)
    When I close my eyes we are all still alive and it becomes obvious then what the gods want from us.

    In Hawaii in 1994, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls from a cruise ship. He is rescued by a shark, and gently delivered to his mother. This event marks the beginning of an incredible family journey. The story unfolds across four parts, is told over fourteen years and involves success, failure, and family rivalry. There are five narrators: Malia (the mother), siblings Nainoa, Dean and Kaui, and
    Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
    First I would like to state that I have received this book through goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank the author for giving me this opportunity and honor in being able to read this book. When I received this book I began reading it at once. This book was a very interesting read. It pulls you in and keeps you wanting more. I would recommend this book to others. It is a very good read
    Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    You guys. This book. This author! Does anyone know if hes single? ...more
    Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I found this book at the bookstore as I was browsing for a vacation read. Vacation just happened to be Hawaii, so this book seemed a good option. I loved this imperfect family searching for meaning and life. However misguided were some of their actions and words, their love of each other and their home was true. The magical realism and the connection with Hawaiian culture and belief was a great way to experience the island as we explored.

    Nainoa seemed to have been special from conception on a
    Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a stunning read. A poignant tale of struggle, hardship and a fundamental family love that trumps all. Kawai Strong Washburn breathes life into the Hawaiian landscape through personification and beautiful lyrical prose. The narrative itself is spine tingling; the magic and wonder produced through powerful imagery synonymous with Polynesian culture is nothing short of dazzling. Raw and emotive, Sharks in the Time of Saviours is one not to be missed. Thank you ...more
    Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Last fall, I attended a conversation being done with author Tommy Orange. During the Q&A, someone in the audience had asked what he was reading at the moment, and his answer was an ARC of this book. When he explained a little bit of what it was about, I knew I had to read and experience it myself.

    "Sharks in the Time of Saviors" is a book that can be described as a mix between Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You and Witi Ihimaera's The Whale Rider. In a family of five, the middle child
    Kristen Beverly
    Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
    This story is a great work of literary fiction with a heavy dose of magic. After a 7 year old boy is rescued by sharks after falling over the side of a boat, he gains new supernatural abilities. This causes a lot of tension between his older brother, younger sister and parents. As they grow older, they all grapple with the boys abilities and what it means for the siblings that dont have them. Author Kawai Strong Washburn creates a beautiful and heartbreaking story set against the backdrop of the ...more
    Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Book Review: Sharks In the Time of Saviors
    Author: Kawai Strong Washburn
    Publisher: Fararr, Straus and Giroux/MCD
    Publication Date: March 3, 2020
    Review Date: December 16, 2019

    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    From the blurb:
    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
    Jenny Shank
    Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    FICTION: In this debut novel by a Minneapolis author, mythic ancestral magic empowers and tests one Hawaiian family.
    Special to the Star Tribune FEBRUARY 28, 2020

    Big destiny is a thing you get drunk on, Kawai Strong Washburn writes in his sweeping, effervescent debut novel. The expectation for a grand destiny rests on Nainoa Flores, the youngest son in a native Hawaiian family. He fell off a boat when he was 7 but was rescued by sharks and returned to his
    Mar 10, 2020 marked it as to-read
    Shelves: 2020-releases
    March 10, 2020:

    ✔ issues about modern Hawaiian families
    ✔ inspired by the island legends
    ✔ perfect balance of practicality and spirituality
    ✔ perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    ✔ magical realism with supernatural events

    Mentioned on the blog: Fanticipating Reads of March 2020 | Five Under-Hyped Diverse Books To Look Out For This Month
    Shayne Fiske Goldner
    Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    A beautifully written novel that hovers just at the brink of magical realism without ever making the jump. Sharks is an intimate family drama about the ties that bind, sometimes break, but never beyond repair. Noa was created under an ominous sign, a thumping drumming call to the Hawaiian gods and his ancestors. One of three children, as he grows, he develops divine gifts that bring his family back from the brink of poverty while causing fissures in his family that could take a lifetime to ...more
    Jill Sanford
    Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
    4.5 stars. This author is amazinga unique, magical, and poignant voice that I enjoyed from start to finish. I cant wait to read his next work. This story meanders and at the same time is abrupt, it is subtle and mysterious and yet at the same time filled with harsh realities and real-life truths, like the hardships faced by contemporary Native Hawaiians. There were a few aspects of the plot that seemed to halt the storytelling rather than progress it but I honestly didnt care too much. The ...more
    Leticia Vila-Sanjuán
    beautiful prose, dialogues, multiple POV works well. the ending felt a bit rushed. engrossing characters.
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    Book Club for Int...: General discussion & final thoughts *WILL contain spoilers* 5 27 Mar 31, 2020 11:00AM  
    Book Club for Int...: Pages 325-The End 1 10 Mar 05, 2020 02:11PM  
    Book Club for Int...: Pages 285-324 1 7 Mar 05, 2020 02:10PM  
    Book Club for Int...: Pages 246-281 1 7 Mar 05, 2020 02:09PM  
    Book Club for Int...: Pages 195-245 1 8 Mar 05, 2020 02:08PM  
    Book Club for Int...: Pages 79-131 1 4 Mar 05, 2020 02:05PM  
    Book Club for Int...: Pages 1 - 47 1 13 Mar 05, 2020 02:02PM  

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