Thursday, 5 April 2007

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

The book was sent to me by the very kind dovegreyreader because I mentioned that I was looking for another book with which to compare The Island.

Well it comes out of the comparison very well indeed. I have difficulty putting down any book once I’ve started it - something of a failing in me so I end up ploughing through books that haven’t left any real mark. I like to feel I’ve spent the time well whether being entertained, informed or had my horizons expanded/boundaries pushed in some way. Moloka’i most definitely has been worthwhile.

There are one or two things I would quibble with. I kept finding I was surprised by the date in which it was set – there was no sense of period and I found I had no idea how people would be dressed, while swimming or surfing for instance. Descriptions and scene setting seemed a little lacking: I never did discover what a pali was, though I guessed it must be a cliff, I had no feeling for what the place looked like. Although the characters were far better drawn than those in The Island, they didn’t develop as much as I had hoped.

One difficulty I had, which was no fault of the book, was that I found the Hawaiian names hard to pronounce. I always have to be able to pronounce words to be able to read fluently and I kept coming to a stop and inwardly debating how they should sound. Friends have told me they are able to la-la-la when they get to a name like that (they seem to proliferate in sci-fi) but no, I have to stop and work it out each time.

Nevertheless it had a great many plus points. It doesn’t pull any punches in describing the ravages of leprosy; I learnt more about leprosy that I did from The Island; i t has made me aware of a Hawaiian culture, something I know nothing whatever about (I really must look up information about surfing); there were historical references which I would like to follow up, such as the visits from Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain.

Although it couldn’t be described as great literature, I would recommend it. It has a lot going for it and is a great deal more moving and satisfying than The Island.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.

Please try the alternative comment form if you're having trouble commenting.
(Thanks to John from Make Nothing Online for the work around.)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin