I was born and raised in Hilo, so I've known the town and the island from as far back as the 40s and 50s (and up to the present, of course).
The prose is OK, although as another reviewer (also from Hawai'i) noted, the pidgin is poorly rendered. It's rare for "yeah" to be spoken mid-sentence. Almost always, it's at the end. The pidgin seems mostly pidgin imagined by someone who never spoke it or never listened carefully, or never ran the dialog past a pidgin speaker.
The plot is strained but is, I suppose, believable. (That there was an eruption in 1935 is not an issue.)
What grated on me were the seemingly-endless series of errors about Hilo, the island, the volcano, the plantations, and the Japanese community.
Here are few examples of really, seriously, careless locational research. Remember, the novel's set before 1935. And yet we find:
-- coqui (introduced mid-1990s
-- green geckos (introduced 1970s)
-- dead dog picked at by crows (the Hawaiian crow was almost extinct, even in 1935)
-- nene geese (again, almost extinct at that time)
Astonishingly, she writes about how the sugar cane is processed and refined into sugar (which is then transported in bags to Hilo). Absolutely not. Processing never went beyond molasses, which was shipped to Crockett CA to be refined into sugar (which was shipped back to Hawai'i). How could the author have missed that?
Having people on a ship in Hilo Bay able to see lava fountains and flows on Mauna Loa (the part where the 1935 eruption happened) is simply not possible. A red glow -- sure. The rest could never have happened. The visit to the lava flow is poorly rendered (I've been around lava flows and even run away from them, so I do know what I'm talking about).
She writes as though, in 1935, the Saddle Road existed more or less in its present form, such that her characters could hop into a truck and drive up to the flow. No. Although there were some tracks/trails used by ranchers, what we know as the Saddle Road was built during WWII.
And more about volcanos -- she cribbed from a Hawaii Volcanos Observatory paper published in 2019, about the 1881 flow. But she didn't realize that the roads the HVO writers (one of whom I know well) were describing simply did not exist in 1935 -- that road (Komohana) was built around 1970. And yet characters talk about Komohana.
I could go on and on, but I'll finish with the most egregious of all her errors: there's no mention (even indirectly) of the absolute center of Japanese society in Hilo -- the settlement of Shinmachi. She writes about the areas near Shinmachi but seems to never have heard anything about it. You simply could not have been a Hilo Japanese person and not known about Shinmachi and what was there and how it functioned. Shinmachi was a vibrant community up until the 1960 tsunami. Many of my Hilo High classmates lived in Shinmachi.
Leaving out Shinmachi in a book about Hawai'i Japanese is like writing a novel about Jews in NYC and failing to mention the Lower East Side. It's that bad.
We've all heard about "cultural appropriation." This is "locational appropriation."
And quite spectacular carelessness. It would seem that she's gotten away with it, which to me is disgraceful.
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