Kahakauwila's collection of short stories is pretty fantastic. I was drawn in from the first one, which is arguably one of the darkest ones. In the titular story, we get a group narrative that acts a little like a Greek chorus, where the working class women of Waikiki closely observe a tourist girl and debate whether to interfere with her poor, unsafe choices. They do too little, too late, to the detriment of all.
In another story called "Wanle," Kahakauwila explores the underworld of cockfighting, which makes this the second book I've read in recent years that deals with that bugaboo of subjects that the middle class would rather not talk about (the first one is this incredibly thought provoking and disturbing book).
In "Portrait of a Good Father," we get a girl dealing not only with her father's infidelity but her brother's death. Both things change her understanding of the world and her parents in heartbreaking ways.
The life of privilege, of white (haole) culture, is in constant conflict in these stories with the non-white Hawaiians--there is talk of water rights, eminent domain, and the overall gentrification of the islands to the point where most people who were born in the islands can no longer afford to live there. This, if nothing else, remains pertinent to my Caribbean travels today.
NB: Hogarth publishes this book this month. I read an advance reading copy of it, provided at my request by my sales rep.