Alex's Reviews > Shark Dialogues

Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport
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's review
Oct 25, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2010-reads, fiction, woc, great-reads, pacific-islands, loved-it, women-authors, word-of-mouth
Read in October, 2010

I loved this book. Lush and lyrical, "Shark Dialogues" is a sweeping epic based on Hawaiian history. The narrative provides much to think about in relation to colonization and native peoples. It starts with four adult women being summoned back to the family coffee plantation by their domineering grandmother, who is a kahuna (prophet). We learn five generations of family history to the present (the girls are the sixth generation), starting with a story on a whaling ship that made me want to read "Moby Dick." (And if you know anything about my reading habits, you will know that is quite a statement.) A grim story unfolds once the ship docks in the islands: colonizers bring leprosy and other diseases to natives, and the main characters suffer. (There is also a greater political narrative about Hawaii's illegal annexation to the US when Queen Lili'uokalani was usurped in 1893.) In the present, the grandmother, Pono, is ready to reveal a family secret. This is not a perfect novel, but the language and political issues raised are stellar. Do yourself a favor and check this one out.

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