H. Anne Stoj's Reviews > Moloka'i

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
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's review
Jan 20, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: historicalfiction

I'm rather torn as to what I thought of the novel. The research certainly shows and Brennert's descriptions are really lovely. I didn't have an issue with the characters, but I think, over all, this would sit more at two and one half rather than three for me.

As I said, I did like Rachel. I found Catherine endearing. I was happy about Kenji, Ruth, and others. But it felt like there should've been more. That great gaps of time were leapt when things like driving, while perhaps not particularly important, would've been interesting to know. How would people with such hand deformities drive in the 1930s or 40s? So on, so forth. I realize that Moloka'i was a very isolated place and given to a very profound sense of segregation, but the small details that would've made the story totally come alive for me just weren't there. I'm not sure if it's because Brennert was trying to capture so much in such a particular timeline that parts that might've been there were parred down or cut completely. Or if he simply didn't write them.

It's not a terrible novel by any means. It might not be one that I wouldn't read again, though. I truly wanted to like it more than I did. Parts of it made me think of Memoirs of a Geisha and others The Poisonwood Bible, but without catching me up completely, not like it should've, or I wanted it to, I guess.

But, for all of that, it was a nice easy read and topically interesting.
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