January 3013 Rodney and I visited Oahu, Hawai’i and I loved it! We are now planning a second trip to Hawai’i next spring. To prepare for this trip I am reading books that are related to Hawai’i in some way. In my Hawaiian reading I am hoping to find interesting places to visit, learn a bit about Hawai’i and, of course, have an enjoyable read. To that end I am going to rate each book on those three criteria: Interesting Places, Learning and Enjoyment.
I must say it is harder to find non-tourism related Hawaiian books than I expected. I have library cards at three different public library systems and I was only able to find a handful of books about or based in Hawai’i. In the end the first one that I could get ahold of to read was “Aloha, Mr. Lucky” by Corson Hirschfeld.
The first few pages of this book are hard going. There are characters popping up left and right, there is a bit too much subterfuge and not enough clarity, and a few scenes that are just plain ooky. Once you are past those pages though it all starts to make sense and you are rewarded with a fast paced mystery. How did it stack up against my Hawaiian Reading Criteria? Well, let’s find out.
This book did explore some interesting places, while many are part of the author’s imagination, many can be visited. Some of the places Mr. Hirschfeld uses in the book are: The Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout, Mauna Loa and the volcanos of the Big Island of Hawai’i and a place he calls Pali Uli also on the Big Island of Hawai’i. (I believe that his Pali Uli is a fictional place and not related to the Pali Uli Gardens on Maui or The Pali Uli Plan on Second Life.)
We did not visit the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout when we were last in Hawai’i. I am quite excited to add that to our list for next spring. We do not plan to go to the Big Island, but I did enjoy learning a bit about volcanoes in this book. While the Pali Uli in this book appears to be fictional I did get a feeling of the diverse wildlife and plants to be found on Hawai’i from his description of it.
I did learn about Hawai’i. The author explored a bit of politics, culture and legend. While I am sure that much of what he wrote is farfetched, I can see a nugget of truth here and there. It certainly opened up some ideas of where to explore for more information. He wrote about the Sons of Pele, which seems to be a fictional group, but it makes me want to read some books from a Native Hawaiian perspective. He also went very deep into the legends and lore surrounding Pele. I now want to read more about those legends to see where he was fudging the truth and where he was not.
Hmmm… enjoyment. Yes, in the end I did enjoy this book. I do not normally read this kind of mystery. I usually read cozy mysteries that do not have quite as much violence. Once it got going I was pulled along by the action and I felt it had a mostly satisfying conclusion. If it were not about Hawai’i though I am not sure I would have made it through the book.
In the end I gave this a Goodreads rating of three stars. Since Mr. Hirschfeld’s other books are not set in Hawai’i, and since that was my biggest draw to this book, I will not be reading them. Though, maybe in the future, if I come upon them at the right time I might read them. I am certainly not going to go out of my way to find them though.