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“Every once in a while after reading a novel, I think: Wow, I’ll never forget this one. Mark Panek’s Hawai‘i did this to me. A much-needed contemporary answer to James Michener’s Hawaii, this novel takes Michener’s ‘golden men’ vision of racial har- mony out back and beats it. Panek succeeds in showing that racial conflict exists first, foremost, and finally within ourselves. His book should be read, re-read, and taught for years to come.”—Chris McKinney, award-winning author of The Tattoo, Mililani Mauka, and Boi No Good.
Title: Hawai‘i: a novel. Author: Mark Panek
Price: $16.95. Size: 8.25 X 5.5; 568 pages. Format: Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9822535-3-3. Publication Date: May 2013
About the book:
A nine-term U.S. senator and political patriarch is dead, leaving modern-day Hawai‘i at a crossroads: crumbling public educa- tion at all levels, a crystal meth epidemic, Native Hawaiians getting shipped to Arizona prisons, and class divisions so deep that even State Senator Russell Lee has to scramble to avoid eviction from his family’s dream home. When an illegal gambling debt puts him even deeper in the hole, Russell’s only way out is to go all in, joining forces with an up-and-coming young developer, a linked-up underworld kingpin, and a Chinese casino magnate. Their goal? To sway an electorate easily distracted by a local media obsession with weather reports and Hawai‘i football into rolling the dice on the most unlikely legislative ambition in the state’s history. Russ lays it all on the line—his house, his family, his career, his principles—in a battle that pits him against the next-in-line “anointed” Democratic party favorite, an environmental movement hardened by years of anti-development crusades, and the long-lost righteous Hawaiian blood-brother he must convince to join him in the name of helping his people. From the summit of Mauna Kea to the crowded shores of Waikiki, from the State Capitol to the seedy backstreets of Honolulu, from a ten- thousand-dollar breast enhancement to a young mother’s fading jailhouse tattoo, Mark Panek leaves out nothing in this scathing portrait of 21st-century paradise.
About the Author:
Mark Panek was born in New York City. A graduate of Colby College, he has travelled widely, having lived in Maine, New York, Sydney, Honolulu, and Tokyo. This is his third book.
Hawaii Book Publisher’s Association: “Mark Panek’s [Big Happiness] is a harrowing account of the life and death of a quintes- sential local boy—Waikāne’s Percy Kipapa. More than this, the book delves deep into the root causes of Kipapa’s eventual slide and murder, shedding a brilliant light on the systemic problems that plague Hawaiians in contemporary society. Part loving tribute to a great friend and man, and part damning look at the long-term cultural failures of ‘New Hawai‘i,’ Mark Panek’s cap- tivating book gracefully weaves together a truly local narrative connecting the death of Percy Kipapa with Hawai‘i’s shady history of unchecked land development, political corruption, the ice epidemic, and the slow erosion of local values.
The book focuses on the life of Percy Kipapa, a man who was so ‘full of aloha,’ that his given sumo name, Daiki, translates into Big Happiness. By inserting himself into the story, Panek allows us to enter into Percy’s world, creating an emotional bond not only with this modern Hawaiian warrior, but with everything that he represents—his family, the ‘āina, and his local, Hawaiian values. At the same time, Panek’s investigative journalism is well-documented and logically constructed, providing the reader with important questions and rationally answering them without making grand speculative claims, culminating in an excellently transcribed and climactic murder trial.”
The Japan Times: “Few books in English or Japanese can match [Panek’s Gaijin Yokozuna] in bringing sumo—and one sumo- tori—to vivid, compulsively readable life.”