In the sweltering summer of 1824, British merchant Matthew Davis finds himself drunk and delirious in the port of Honolulu, thinking he might like to hear about “the military exploits of the natives, their feather-bedecked kings and ferocious armies.” Instead, he stumbles into a confrontation with disease and misery and bears witness to the harrowing life story of Ka‘alokulokupono, an elderly Hawaiian kidnapped in his youth by the legendary privateer Roger Beckwith, a man dead-set on pursuing the design of a world consumed by one evil act after another. From master storyteller Ian MacMillan comes his most sweeping epic yet, a tale of three men and a perilous voyage traversing Hawai‘i and the Pacific Rim.
It is 1985 in Nu‘uolemanusa/Village of the Sacred Owl, Western Samoa. Madonna’s Like a Virgin rules the airwaves. Brilliant and inquisitive high school student and Star Trek fanatic, 17 ½ year old Inosia Alofafua Afatasi, is sent by her mother to the capital, Apia, to buy three giant white threads. While she waits at the bus-stop, Mr. Ioane Viliamu, her teacher of Science and Mathematics and recent graduate of the University of Papua New Guinea and the pastor’s eldest son, in turn, her spiritual brother, stops to offer her a ride in his red pick-up truck. Should she wait for the bus? Or should she accept the ride?
A nine-term U.S. senator and political patriarch is dead, leaving Hawai'i at a crossroads: crumbling public education at all levels, a crystal meth epidemic, 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 further in the hole, Russell's only way out is to go all in, joining forces with an up-and-coming developer, an underworld kingpin, and a Chinese casino magnate to sway Hawaii's electorate into rolling the dice on the biggest legislative gamble in the state's history. Russ lays it all on the line in a battle that pits him against 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, Mark Panek leaves out nothing in this scathing portrait of 21st-century paradise.
Ah, Pasifika. Imagine swaying palms and sapphire waters, Gauguin skies and perpetual summer set to the languid strumming of a single, endless ukulele. Yes, you are in paradise. And the best is yet to come, because with so many bare bodies, tanned and slick with oil, Pasifika is where uninhibited sexual desires can’t help but ignite as well. So come and relax away the worries of our dying world, drink cocktails out of reasonably real coconuts, and once the tiki torches are lit, oh my god get ready to get laid too. Any way you like it. The natives, the ones serving you your Tropical Itch, the ones massaging you with their lovely hula hands, well, their only goal is to perform, to provide, and to please those who arrive at their receding shores, a gratitude for giving them Jesus and service jobs in hotels built on top of their ancestors’ murmuring bones. But wait—there’s more! What better booming climax to all this sexiness than the beautiful orgasmic horror of flaming mushroom cloud after mushroom cloud rising into the azure Pasifika sky. After all, Pasifika has long been the largest proving ground for global apocalypse on earth. Didn’t you know the word bikini itself was coined after an atomic bomb devastated a nearby atoll of the same name? It’s that sexy. Now strap in, or strap on, and let the characters of Pasifika guide you into a nightmare vision of the near future in a colonized, climate-devastated, and irradiated Pacific, where the product of our evolution has become the perfection of annihilation, with a raging hard-on, and where the greatest horror may be discovered at the core of our own confused and frustrated desires.
Inside you will find gripping tales of unrelieved happiness, of smile-inducing euphoria, and relentless fun. This book might also cause fits, spasms, and a sudden popping of the joints, even inthose who tend toward frowning, sneering, and general negativity. Those who resist might spontaneously implode. For the rest of us, Hawai'i Smiles contains just what the world of literature, and the world at large, has been needing for a long time a great big dose of lightening up!
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