Fiction Kathleen Tyau Makai

ISBN 13: 9780374200008

Makai

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9780374200008: Makai

The story of a friendship altered forever by Pearl Harbor.

In her second novel, Kathleen Tyau takes us from the shoeshine stands and dance halls of Honolulu's Chinatown to the rough, remote Maui coast in this saga of two Chinese Hawaiian women and their intertwined lives. Alice Lum narrates this story of her troubling but devoted friendship with her beautiful and bold best friend, Annabel Lee, whose Hawaiian great-grandmother performed the hula for royalty. Alice and Annabel graduate from high school with gas masks slung across their white dresses in the spring following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Both girls depend on handsome Sammy Woo, a friend who sparks a lasting rivalry between them.

After the war, Annabel leaves Hawaii and goes "makai"-toward the sea-all the way to Florida to seek a mainland life she has long imagined. Shy Alice stays close to home, but even there she is not safe-not from the anxieties of marriage or motherhood, or from the island itself. Years later, Alice and Annabel meet again in Hawaii, where they confront their difficult history, which seems to repeat itself with their children.

Alice must learn to find her place among the tangled strands of the Woo and Lee families, and to understand the nature of love. Beautifully written and brutally honest, Makai is an extraordinary novel about friendship, loss, and the sea.

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About the Author:

Kathleen Tyau is the author of A LITTLE TOO MUCH IS ENOUGH, winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and is an 1997 NEA recipient. She is an accomplished handweaver and an avid bluegrass musician. Tyau grew up on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and now lives on a tree farm in Oregon with her husband.

From Publishers Weekly:

Employing the voice of a 50-year-old plainspoken Chinese-Hawaiian woman looking back on her life, Tyau (A Little Too Much Is Enough) affectingly follows the friendship and romantic rivalries of two women whose closely connected lives revolve around the period of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Narrator Alice Lum is the most sturdy and sensible of the two friends who, 35 years before, attended high school in Honolulu together. Annabel Lee is the pretty, impulsive one, who first gains the attention of Alice's heartthrob, Sammy Woo, the slop boy at Annabel's father's Chinatown restaurant. After the war, Sammy eventually marries Alice, and they have two daughters. They move makai (toward the sea), to Maui, where Alice almost dies in a flash flood, and then back to Hawaii. The affection between her best friend and her husband continues to rankle Alice as she strives to make sense of their entanglements in her honest and amusing narrative, peppered with pidgin words and phrases. The romantic caprices of her daughter, Beatrice, an inspections officer who has left her husband and baby in order to move back home with Annabel's son, Wick, further complicate Alice's domestic upheavals, while she nervously anticipates the glamorous Annabel's sporadic visits from the far-flung places where she, too, has gone makai. Tyau enters the world of Alice Lum with unsentimental empathy, yet Alice is never allowed to have her say in confronting the manipulative Annabel Lee, and she remains disappointingly passive as events unfold around her. And while the wartime atmosphere is evoked quite strongly at first, the defining events of WWII are never pursued beyond the attack on Pearl Harbor. Still, this is a touching story that mirrors the alternating bonds and stresses of many women's friendships, and poignantly evokes the tension between the safety of domestic love and the lure of exotic adventure.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Kathleen Tyau
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