JULY 2013 INTERVIEWS
Tyler McMahon writes in his introduction to "Novels Masquerading as Stories: An Interview with Kristiana Kahakauwila," published in the Fiction Writer's Review, that the stories in THIS IS PARADISE are "long and immersive, ambitious in their scope and lush in their atmosphere, relevant, big-hearted, and intensely readable. Kahakauwila’s greatest talent is her ability to move heavy thematic freight at high velocity. Even her most poignant cultural statements crackle with wry humor, sexual tension, and snappy dialogue."
In Kirkus, "Piecing Together a Self" Jessica Gross looks at the "seeds" of the stories in this collection, and how multi- and bi-culturalism influenced the work.
Finally, Writer's Digest offers a Debut Author Q&A that looks at how a new author breaks into the field of publishing.
RECENT PRESS FOR THIS IS PARADISE
“[A] sparkling debut story collection . . . A writer with one foot in the native Hawaiian community and the other in the mainland mainstream gives us an edgy, unmistakably authentic glimpse of the harder side of island life. Kahakauwila captures in six related stories the striving lives, colorful pidgin dialect, and varied relationships that anchor and challenge her strikingly drawn characters.” —ELLE
“This Is Paradise, by Kristiana Kahakauwila, navigates an ocean of tension between tourists and islanders in paradisiacal, paradoxical Hawaii. Gritty, haunting, and suspenseful.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“[THIS IS PARADISE] is as breathtaking as a trip up the Na Pali Coast — not a lighthearted day at the beach, but culturally complex, historically significant, and something special in the world.” —Daily Candy
"'This Is Paradise'... gives us a raw view of local color in all of its perplexities and pleasures." —Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered on NPR
“Edgy... vivid storytelling and unflinching candor make this collection haunting.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[T]his debut collection promises a tour of the real Hawaii. [...] Ms. Kahakauwila illuminates racial and class tensions and the guilt of leaving home for the mainland. "Portrait of a Good Father" may be the best story of the group and it could have been set anywhere." —New York Times
"This Is Paradise," a collection from gifted newcomer Kristiana Kahakauwila, is set in the unglamorous Hawaii overlooked by tourists. [...] Flavoring these stories is the striking pidgin English spoken by the island natives. This is also the language of the excellent 'Portrait of a Good Father,' another exploration of a devoted daughter and her erring dad." —Wall Street Journal
"From a place renowned for its beauty and tranquility comes a gritty collection of stories that capture true life in modern-day Hawaii. A new talent on the scene, Kahakauwila is being compared to such luminaries as Junot Diaz and Justin Torres. I also detect a touch of Jamaica Kinkaid, but we could play this game forever. She possesses a unique, beautiful voice, and has created an intense, compelling portrait of a complicated place. I think my favorite story is "Thirty-Nine Rules for Making a Hawaiian Funeral into a Drinking Game," in which she seamlessly blends the grief of loss with the history of a people." —Inkwood Books
“Finely wrought work from an impressive new talent.” —Kirkus
“Filled with an energy and outrage reminiscent of Jamaica Kincaid. . . . a well-crafted work that compassionately treats the men and women who love and suffer in an island paradise.” —Publishers Weekly
“Cogent explorations of regret, remorse, ambition, and ambivalence can take place anywhere on earth, but in a land known for its beguiling enchantment, such fatalism takes on a forbidding, even sinister, mien as Kahakauwila deconstructs the aloha myth.” —Booklist