Patrick Vinton Kirch is Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Berkeley. His most recent book is A Shark Going Inland Is My Chief: The Island Civilization of Ancient Hawai‘i. (December 2015)
The tumultuous history of Hawai‘i—from the first encounter of an island civilization with intruding explorers to its subjugation as a colonial outpost of America—has been told many times. Susanna Moore, who grew up in Hawai‘i and has set some of her novels there, offers a new rendering of this island saga. Neither a professional historian nor an anthropologist, Moore combines a novelist’s skill at individual characterization with an eye for ethnographic detail, and brings a fresh perspective to what more than anything was a tragic clash between Native and Other.