REVIEW – HOUSE OF MANY GODS, KIANA DAVENPORT

House of Many Gods: A NovelHouse of Many Gods: A Novel by Kiana Davenport
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kiana Davenport’s book House of Many Gods is a wonderful generational novel, beginning in the mid-Sixties and running to present day, along the Waianae coast of Oahu, a neighborhood largely unknown to the outside world. It houses the third-largest homeless population in the United States, made up of mostly ghettoized native Hawaiians. In this novel, set in a house shared by many and various mothers, their children and the occasional father, a story about a young girl takes place. Abandoned by her mother, she struggles within a culture clash within the only home she’s ever known, her expectations, the outside world, and how to love. During the book she finds a way through much of the tragedy and poverty around her to become a doctor, eventually connect the pieces of her life, and travels halfway around the world to rescue a man, also struggling in his native culture, that she’d refused to love. At least as important as the story she tells, Kiana’s descriptions and narrative, as lush and rich as a tropical rainforest, brings along the deep abiding spiritualism of a Hawaiian spirit subjugated by a profusion of foreign influences, from the missionaries to the more recent intrusions of Asian, and most of all, the United States, influences. It’s as if Kaui Hart Hemmings (The Descendants) meets Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram) in Hawai’i. I rank Kiana Davenport alongside my favorite, and most influential authors, Hemmings, Donna Tart, Marisa Pessl, and Dennis Lehane. This will be a read you cannot put down and will never forget.

As a side note, Kiana’s books about Hawai’i, especially this one, have influenced my new book, Enchanted. This review about a year and a half ago, and I feel as strongly about this book now as I did then.

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REVIEW: NIGHT FILM by Marisha Pessl

Night FilmNight Film by Marisha Pessl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is not quite a perfect 5 star book but too close not to give it. This author was passionate enough about her story to ‘worldbuild’ an entire career of a movie producer, with movie scripts, newspaper and magazine articles and to mix in various stars of screen and stage with her own characters. At times it was hard to believe Cordova didn’t really exist. The fatal flaw for me that stuck with me throughout the book, that she overcame by her sheer use of language, was that early on I lost my suspension of belief that her main character was a man. A couple of the description were from a woman’s eye. There were a couple of other nit-picking details but time after time, I’d have to stop and relish the wonderful similes and metaphors, and parts of speech she used. And the book didn’t tail off as so many literary novels do. Not a perfect ending, but right up to the end she kept up the suspense. I was very happy I read this cool book.

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On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane

74 seems to be a fatal number. So many greats falling by the wayside at this milepost. Since it’s my number, can’t help but wonder, but I don’t think it’s my time yet. I’ve still got things to say … Read this fascinating article about Paul Kantner and Signe Toly Anderson, Airplane’s first girl vocalist. She was 74, too

It was sad enough that Jefferson Airplane founding member Paul Kantner, the keeper of the famed San Francisco band’s flame throughout its turbulent half-century, died last week, from heart failure. A deeper melancholy set in with news of the death the same day of the Airplane’s first female vocalist, Signe Toly Anderson, from cancer. Both were 74.

Source: On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane

Complete Guide to the 2016 Candidates’ Favorite Music | Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone reached out to all the major candidates, conducting new interviews, examining rally playlists and digging deep into their musical history to find out. Some of what we discovered was predictable (Ted Cruz claims he “didn’t like how rock music responded” to the 9/11 attacks and turned to country), and some of it was surprising (Mike Huckabee will talk your ear off about Grand Funk Railroad).

From Hillary Clinton and Selena Gomez to Marco Rubio and N.W.A, here are the candidates’ favorite musicians

Source: Complete Guide to the 2016 Candidates’ Favorite Music | Rolling Stone