Sharks in the Time of Saviors
"Sharks in the Time of Saviors is the story of a family, a people, and a legend, all wrapped in one. Faith and grief, rage and love, this book pulses with all of it. Kawai Strong Washburn makes his debut with a wealth of talent and a true artist's eye." --Victor LaValle, author of The ChangelingIn 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends.Nainoa's family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods--a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart: Nainoa, working now as a paramedic on the streets of Portland, struggles to fathom the full measure of his expanding abilities; further north in Washington, his older brother Dean hurtles into the world of elite college athletics, obsessed with wealth and fame; while in California, risk-obsessed younger sister Kaui navigates an unforgiving academic workload in an attempt to forge her independence from the family's legacy.When supernatural events revisit the Flores family in Hawai'i--with tragic consequences--they are all forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors Details

TitleSharks in the Time of Saviors
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 3rd, 2020
PublisherMCD
ISBN-139780374272081
Rating
GenreFiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Family, Adult, Adult Fiction, Novels, Supernatural

Sharks in the Time of Saviors Review

  • Jon Nakapalau
    January 1, 1970
    Magical realism is interwoven with the legends of Hawaii in this haunting novel about family and destiny. When Nainoa Flores falls into the Pacific Ocean it seems as if this is the end when sharks start to appear in the water. Everyone is sure the child will meet with a tragic end until (Noa) is gently delivered back to his mother in the jaws of a shark. In Hawaiian legends Kāmohoaliʻi is the shark god associated with protection and guidance; families that relied upon the sea for a livelihood Magical realism is interwoven with the legends of Hawai’i in this haunting novel about family and destiny. When Nainoa Flores falls into the Pacific Ocean it seems as if this is the end when sharks start to appear in the water. Everyone is sure the child will meet with a tragic end until (Noa) is gently delivered back to his mother in the jaws of a shark. In Hawai’ian legends Kāmohoaliʻi is the shark god associated with protection and guidance; families that relied upon the sea for a livelihood often revered and made offerings to him. But just as in Greek mythology the gifts of the gods often have a price - and that price is often paid by the whole family. Kawai Strong Washburn looks at issues facing modern Hawai’ian families (often strangers in their own land) and examines this as only an insider can: tradition and individual tragedy bite deep into this contemporary tale of cursed blessings - highest recommendation.
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    this arrived at my house; unexpected, unrequested, so to whatever book fairy over at MCD knows who i am (and where i live), thank you and happy early shark week!
  • The Artisan Geek
    January 1, 1970
    21/11/20The author was so kind to send me a copy. Can't wait to start reading!You can find me onYoutube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    I am not a fan of magical realism but this Hawaiian family narrative is filled with the primal power of the Hula. A throbbing story that addresses head-on the issues of class, race, and poverty. You can feel the rhythm of islands chanting for recognition of its lore, fables, and legends through this family bound together by love and their undulating homeland that will not be ignored.
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  • Kawai
    January 1, 1970
    Pretty great. There was a lot of olfactory stuff going on in the middle. Could probably use a few less f-bombs.This is worth a read: https://believermag.com/that-same-kin...
  • Marianne
    January 1, 1970
    Sharks in the Time of Saviours is the first novel by Hawaiian-born author, Kawai Strong Washburn. Conceived on a night when the gods roam the Big Island, Nainao Flores is different from the start, and it eventually becomes more apparent how special he is. Gifted (or plagued) with premonitory visions, saved by sharks, able to heal, a boy so singular is bound to be treated differently. So young, yet believing himself charged with the salvation of the islands.But this (perhaps) messiah is not an Sharks in the Time of Saviours is the first novel by Hawaiian-born author, Kawai Strong Washburn. Conceived on a night when the gods roam the Big Island, Nainao Flores is different from the start, and it eventually becomes more apparent how special he is. Gifted (or plagued) with premonitory visions, saved by sharks, able to heal, a boy so singular is bound to be treated differently. So young, yet believing himself charged with the salvation of the islands.But this (perhaps) messiah is not an only child. Nor do his parents know quite how to nurture the gift. From them comes favour and protection and support; from his siblings, in addition to the usual love and rivalry, there’s also jealousy and resentment. And from the island dwellers, the entreaties (or sometimes, demands) to heal. And none of it alters the fact that there’s no living to be made in the islands. Dean heads to Spokane on a basketball scholarship to make it big; Nainoa finds himself a paramedic in Portland, using his gift to save the dying, while Kaui determines to quash her invisibility by becoming an engineer. But away from home, nothing goes completely right for any of them…What a powerful, moving tale Washburn gives the reader! His characters are complex and believable, with flaws and redeeming qualities both. Washburn has a talent for conveying feelings and emotions, of which his characters exhibit anxiety, grief, love, wonder, envy, heartbreak and much more besides. Sometimes they are deeply spiritual, at other times, forced to be practical, but ultimately the connection to the land and to all life forms, to the past and the present overrides all. There are touches of the paranormal, of magical realism in this outstanding debut novel. Washburn is an author to watchThis unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Penguin Hamish Hamilton
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  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    The author of Sharks in the Time of Saviours, was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. This grounding has put the author in good stead to produce an authentic novel set in Hawaiʻi. Kawai Strong Washburn presents a contextual family drama, that encompasses themes of class, poverty, economics, opportunity, culture, old world faith, belief systems, magical realism and survival. Opening in the year 1994, Sharks in the Time of Saviours simultaneously reveals the cultural fabric of this The author of Sharks in the Time of Saviours, was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. This grounding has put the author in good stead to produce an authentic novel set in Hawaiʻi. Kawai Strong Washburn presents a contextual family drama, that encompasses themes of class, poverty, economics, opportunity, culture, old world faith, belief systems, magical realism and survival. Opening in the year 1994, Sharks in the Time of Saviours simultaneously reveals the cultural fabric of this nation, as well as its secrets, while relaying the astonishing rescue of child. When seven year old Nainia Flores is saved from possible drowning by a school of sharks, his financially strapped family sees this miracle act as the ultimate sign from the gods. Their child, Nainia, is the chosen one, and his rescue heralds a great gift from the ancient gods of the land. What follows this incident and the Flores clan, is a true test of the human spirit. Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a moving debut, punctuated by drifting and poetic prose, with heartbreaking, as well as melancholic undertones. This book is unquestionably an original and powerful ode, of mystical proportions, to the tropical idyll of Hawaiʻi.*I wish to thank Better Reading Preview/Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book.
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  • Gloria Arthur
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐3.5⭐Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a Hawaiian family saga. The story begins when this family who are trying to make ends meet are taking a rare holiday and seven-year-old Ninoa falls overboard into the ocean and is dangerously surrounded by four sharks. Miraculously he is carried safety and gently back to the boat in the mouth of a shark.Through this freak act of nature Ninoa then becomes a legend and is thought to be gifted with special powers of the gods that will heal people. His siblings ⭐️3.5⭐️Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a Hawaiian family saga. The story begins when this family who are trying to make ends meet are taking a rare holiday and seven-year-old Ninoa falls overboard into the ocean and is dangerously surrounded by four sharks. Miraculously he is carried safety and gently back to the boat in the mouth of a shark.Through this freak act of nature Ninoa then becomes a legend and is thought to be gifted with special powers of the gods that will heal people. His siblings feel resentment and jealously when Ninoa always appears to be treated with more importance by their parents than how they are.I loved the way the story encompasses the native Hawaiian beliefs of spirits, myths and gods. The family dynamics were well written. There are a lot of supernatural events and it’s a very spiritual tale.A great story for lovers of magical realism.I wish to thank Better Reading & Penguin Hamish Hamilton for generously providing me with an advanced copy of the book to read in return for an honest review
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  • Anna Luce
    January 1, 1970
    DNF 25%The summary, title, and cover of Sharks in the Time of Saviors piqued my interest. Magical realism? A not so rosy take on the 'chosen one'? Yes, please.Sadly, 1/4 in and I find the story to be far more focused on Nainoa's siblings who whine about how overshadowed they feel by him and how unfair it all is that their parents pay him more attention. And...while I was expecting the novel to touch upon sibling rivalry, I wasn't prepared for it to be the sole focus of the story. Nainoa has very DNF 25%The summary, title, and cover of Sharks in the Time of Saviors piqued my interest. Magical realism? A not so rosy take on the 'chosen one'? Yes, please.Sadly, 1/4 in and I find the story to be far more focused on Nainoa's siblings who whine about how overshadowed they feel by him and how unfair it all is that their parents pay him more attention. And...while I was expecting the novel to touch upon sibling rivalry, I wasn't prepared for it to be the sole focus of the story. Nainoa has very little room to actually speak about his own experiences and his story is recounted by his jealous older brother and younger sister. They are unsympathetic, self-involved, and blind to their brother's pain. Having read a few other reviews, I know that Nainoa's chapters will dwindle halfway through the novel. Perhaps if the relationship between these three siblings was a bit more nuanced, I would be more interested in reading of their shifting dynamics. Their dislike for each other however is the only emotion that really transpires from these pages. The magical realisms is very much out of the picture. The narrative is more concerned with appearing as conversational as possible (a character will overuse 'like' and 'what', creating the effect that they can't quite remember something). The humour, exaggerated sex scenes, trying-hard-to-be-casual narratives were all not for me.This may be one of those 'it's not the book, it's me'...so I wouldn't necessarily not recommend this book...just be aware that its story has little to do with 'the chosen one' or 'magical realism'.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    I can not wait until others have had the chance to read this book! It is that good. This new author writes like a poet. Each chapter tells a different story, each story better than the last. This is a story about a family that goes through hell while living in what many as describe as heaven (Hawaii). The story is sad on so many levels, but it keeps you reading to see what will happen next. In my opinion, parts is this book left itself open to interpretation, especially the end. Because of this, I can not wait until others have had the chance to read this book! It is that good. This new author writes like a poet. Each chapter tells a different story, each story better than the last. This is a story about a family that goes through hell while living in what many as describe as heaven (Hawaii). The story is sad on so many levels, but it keeps you reading to see what will happen next. In my opinion, parts is this book left itself open to interpretation, especially the end. Because of this, I’d love to discuss it with others who have read it. Thank you, Goodreads, for the advanced copy.
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  • Charlotte
    January 1, 1970
    Sharks In the Time of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn is technically my first read of 2020 and what a truly enthralling read. So much so I stayed up way past midnight to finish it! This is a book that needs to be experienced, to be breathed in to your soul and made a part of you. It is one I can see myself reading again and again over the years.The story takes place in Hawaii, O'ahu, and the mainland. The writing is so transportive I felt like I was back visiting again for a short time. It is Sharks In the Time of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn is technically my first read of 2020 and what a truly enthralling read. So much so I stayed up way past midnight to finish it! This is a book that needs to be experienced, to be breathed in to your soul and made a part of you. It is one I can see myself reading again and again over the years.The story takes place in Hawai’i, O'ahu, and the mainland. The writing is so transportive I felt like I was back visiting again for a short time. It is told from the viewpoint of the Flores family with Malia (mother), Dean and Nainoa (sons), and Kaui (daughter) being the main narrators. The islands were a main character as well and had plenty to say throughout. The Flores' are all such exquisitely flawed individuals but much like a parent loves their children no matter what, as a reader you are sometimes angry with them but never stop cherishing them. I really don't want to talk about the plot at all. Reading the synopsis is enough if you must but absolutely try going into this with no knowledge. You will be handsomely rewarded.I loved Malia's voice the most. Her knowledge of things connected to their ancestors was so grounding. There is also this delicious sense of foreboding coursing throughout. Most of the time we want the characters we love to run away from danger, to survive. In this case I was urging them forward into what, I really had no idea. When this book is released in April, grab a copy and settle in.Thank you to Canongate and Netgalley for an advanced review copy. All opinions are absolutely my own.
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  • Suzanne thebookblondie
    January 1, 1970
    Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn (#21 in 2020)Thank you to @mcdbooks @fsgbooks for my gifted copy. PUB DATE: 3/3/2020When Nainoa was 7 years old, he fell overboard on a family trip. As sharks began to appear in the water, everyone naturally assumed that Noa was a goner. One of the sharks however, cradled Noa in its jaws and carefully brought him back to his family. It was as if the sharks recognized the greatness in Noa and knew his time on earth was worth more than a meal. Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn (#21 in 2020)Thank you to @mcdbooks @fsgbooks for my gifted copy. PUB DATE: 3/3/2020When Nainoa was 7 years old, he fell overboard on a family trip. As sharks began to appear in the water, everyone naturally assumed that Noa was a goner. One of the sharks however, cradled Noa in its jaws and carefully brought him back to his family. It was as if the sharks recognized the greatness in Noa and knew his time on earth was worth more than a meal. In the years following the shark incident, Noa and his family grow in different directions and each person's experience with that remarkable day plays a role in the future.Sharks in the Time of Saviors is Kawai Strong Washburn's debut novel... and I'm over here completely captivated by what feels like the work of a seasoned writer. This storyline is a realistic depiction of a struggling family coupled with a Hawaiian mythology. In a similar vein to that of Greek or Roman mythology, Noa's gift of life comes with a price as he finds himself with a newfound capability. From the synopsis, one might assume this book is about a surprising encounter with a shark, but this book is SO much more than that. On the surface, readers will find the topics of family, love, and culture. Beneath all of that are the topics of poverty, spirituality, and survival, and the reader is left with complex emotions as each character life branches off in a different direction.Here's my bold statement of the day: Washburn might be my new favorite narrative voice. There, I've said it. I hate comparing authors to one another, but I think it's sometimes helpful to compare debut authors to writers we already know for the sake of describing the writing style. Here's what I've got:Washburn has a style that reminds me so much of Sandra Cisneros and James Joyce from the writing technique to the strong infusion of culture. Washburn, like those well-known authors, writes vignette-style chapters, each from a different perspective, and he uses those individual parts to build towards a bigger picture. While each of Washburn's characters has a distinct voice and perspective, the family ties are undeniable. Despite the element of magic in this otherwise realistic story, the plot is seamless and leaves no room for confusion.For more contemporary comparisons: - Lovers of Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Water Dancer might detect Washburn's similar usage of diction to create sentences that read like lyrics. Like Coates, Washburn incorporates a magical element to his realistic plot. - Claire Lombardo's The Most Fun We've Ever Had was a very character-focused novel that featured the characters' revelations about imperfection and their willingness to persevere. Washburn's book is equally as character-centered and uncovers each character's feelings and revelations about how the shark incident has impacted their lives. Also... for any of my NY/NJ friends, Kawai Strong Washburn will be at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn on April 2nd. I'm dying to go and plan on attending so I can: 1. Hear Washburn speak2. Get my book signed3. Fangirl over my new favorite author (yes... Washburn is officially my new favorite author!)
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come. This is the Hawaiian book that my soul has been wanting to read.
  • Jordy’s Book Club
    January 1, 1970
    QUICK TAKE: multicultural family drama with a hint of Hawaiian mysticism. Loved the family dynamics and the specificity of the storytelling. Is it perfect...no. But Washburn is for sure an author to keep an eye on.
  • An
    January 1, 1970
    Sharks in the Time of Saviors is a tour de force. Kawai Strong Washburn beautifully weaves together this stunning family saga while paying homage to his own Hawai'ian roots. The story is infused with supernatural elements and native folklore in a way that feels reminiscent of Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. An excellent read for fans of literary magical realism. Many thanks to MCD and Goodreads for sending me a copy!Full disclosure: I received a free advance reading copy via Sharks in the Time of Saviors is a tour de force. Kawai Strong Washburn beautifully weaves together this stunning family saga while paying homage to his own Hawai'ian roots. The story is infused with supernatural elements and native folklore in a way that feels reminiscent of Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. An excellent read for fans of literary magical realism. Many thanks to MCD and Goodreads for sending me a copy!Full disclosure: I received a free advance reading copy via Goodreads' Giveaways. My rating of this book is, therefore, based on an uncorrected proof. Sharks in the Time of Saviors will be available in bookstores on March 3, 2020.
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  • Jessie
    January 1, 1970
    I actually Finished Kawai Strong Washburns Sharks in the Time of Saviors on its publication day, which was yesterday, but I needed a whole night to sleep on it, because, wow. About a family who builds their identity around one child rescued by sharks and seemingly carrying sacred abilities within his body, this book details how those expectations dull some, harm others, and divide a family and the power that would otherwise be held within that unit. About sibling rivalry, about the grinding I actually Finished Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors on it’s publication day, which was yesterday, but I needed a whole night to sleep on it, because, wow. About a family who builds their identity around one child rescued by sharks and seemingly carrying sacred abilities within his body, this book details how those expectations dull some, harm others, and divide a family and the power that would otherwise be held within that unit. About sibling rivalry, about the grinding poverty that Native Hawaiians are forced to endure in their home that is a playground to the white and wealthy, about growing up and finding yourself, about surviving loss, and about connecting to the ancestors and all of creation, this book was singular. The writing was entirely it’s own, the characters became people I loved fiercely, and the power of the text blew me out of the water again and again and again. I was voracious for this book, and I wish I could start it fresh with new eyes so I could experience it all over again. Thank you @mcclellandstewart for this review copy, I couldn’t have possibly loved this book more.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 4%4% of the book is enough to tell that this prose is 100% not for me.
  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    January 1, 1970
    When I close my eyes we are all still alive and it becomes obvious then what the gods want from us.In Hawaii in 1994, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls from a cruise ship. He is rescued by a shark, and gently delivered to his mother. This event marks the beginning of an incredible family journey. The story unfolds across four parts, is told over fourteen years and involves success, failure, and family rivalry. There are five narrators: Malia (the mother), siblings Nainoa, Dean and Kaui, and ‘When I close my eyes we are all still alive and it becomes obvious then what the gods want from us.’In Hawai’i in 1994, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls from a cruise ship. He is rescued by a shark, and gently delivered to his mother. This event marks the beginning of an incredible family journey. The story unfolds across four parts, is told over fourteen years and involves success, failure, and family rivalry. There are five narrators: Malia (the mother), siblings Nainoa, Dean and Kaui, and their father Augie. Expectations of Nainoa are great, living up to them is not easy. Each of the children leave Hawai’i: partly in pursuit of their dreams, partly to escape their reality. Can any of them find happiness outside Hawai’i?It took me a little while to fall in with the rhythm of this story, to appreciate the part Hawai’i has to play as Nainoa’s life unfolds. While some aspects of the magic don’t work for me, the beauty in the storytelling kept me engaged. I finished the novel wanting more. ‘He never left us.’Note: My thanks to Better Reading for a copy of this novel.Jennifer Cameron-Smith#BRPreview
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  • Sasha
    January 1, 1970
    First I would like to state that I have received this book through goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank the author for giving me this opportunity and honor in being able to read this book. When I received this book I began reading it at once. This book was a very interesting read. It pulls you in and keeps you wanting more. I would recommend this book to others. It is a very good read
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  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    You guys. This book. This author! Does anyone know if hes single? You guys. This book. This author! Does anyone know if he’s single?
  • Shannan
    January 1, 1970
    I found this book at the bookstore as I was browsing for a vacation read. Vacation just happened to be Hawaii, so this book seemed a good option. I loved this imperfect family searching for meaning and life. However misguided were some of their actions and words, their love of each other and their home was true. The magical realism and the connection with Hawaiian culture and belief was a great way to experience the island as we explored.Nainoa seemed to have been special from conception on a I found this book at the bookstore as I was browsing for a vacation read. Vacation just happened to be Hawaii, so this book seemed a good option. I loved this imperfect family searching for meaning and life. However misguided were some of their actions and words, their love of each other and their home was true. The magical realism and the connection with Hawaiian culture and belief was a great way to experience the island as we explored.Nainoa seemed to have been special from conception on a night when his parents saw the night marchers. Then later he fell overboard from a boat and was rescued by a group of sharks. In his quest to make sense of what his purpose is, he falls further away from his close-knit family. And then his family falls further away from each other, until life circumstances draw them back together to show them what they’d been missing all along wasn’t just Nainoa. It was the voices, spirits and connection to their home.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a stunning read. A poignant tale of struggle, hardship and a fundamental family love that trumps all. Kawai Strong Washburn breathes life into the Hawaiian landscape through personification and beautiful lyrical prose. The narrative itself is spine tingling; the magic and wonder produced through powerful imagery synonymous with Polynesian culture is nothing short of dazzling. Raw and emotive, Sharks in the Time of Saviours is one not to be missed. Thank you Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a stunning read. A poignant tale of struggle, hardship and a fundamental family love that trumps all. Kawai Strong Washburn breathes life into the Hawaiian landscape through personification and beautiful lyrical prose. The narrative itself is spine tingling; the magic and wonder produced through powerful imagery synonymous with Polynesian culture is nothing short of dazzling. Raw and emotive, Sharks in the Time of Saviours is one not to be missed. Thank you Better Reading Preview for the advanced copy!
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Last fall, I attended a conversation being done with author Tommy Orange. During the Q&A, someone in the audience had asked what he was reading at the moment, and his answer was an ARC of this book. When he explained a little bit of what it was about, I knew I had to read and experience it myself."Sharks in the Time of Saviors" is a book that can be described as a mix between Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You and Witi Ihimaera's The Whale Rider. In a family of five, the middle child Last fall, I attended a conversation being done with author Tommy Orange. During the Q&A, someone in the audience had asked what he was reading at the moment, and his answer was an ARC of this book. When he explained a little bit of what it was about, I knew I had to read and experience it myself."Sharks in the Time of Saviors" is a book that can be described as a mix between Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You and Witi Ihimaera's The Whale Rider. In a family of five, the middle child is the clear favorite among the parents for powers that are believed to be a blessing from the gods. As a result, the older and younger siblings frequently feel sidelined, even in the midst of accomplishments and journeys of their own. It's really not until tragedy strikes when everything is shifted into perspective.It's a telling debut that seamlessly shifts the perspectives among each of the family members; each of them so distinct individually, but still contain an essence of something that is shared among them all. You feel for each of them and the struggles and obstacles they overcome, even when they screw up in the biggest of ways. While there is one character I wish I could have heard more from, I also understand the author's intention for not highlighting their voice as much as the others.I also want to note the fact that the book was partially set in Hawaii and all the main characters are Hawaiian. I mention this because I don't get to read books that often that center on Hawaiian characters and the islands. In the midst of the haoles that make up a majority of the tourist industry there, many tend to forget how there are people who live and work there and don't have the easiest of lives. The Flores family shows that overlooked side and the struggles they endure.It's a beautiful, tragic, intense first novel from Kawai Strong Washburn. "Sharks in the Time of Saviors" makes itself clear enough that this author is someone to watch for more writing as moving as this.
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  • Kristen Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    This story is a great work of literary fiction with a heavy dose of magic. After a 7 year old boy is rescued by sharks after falling over the side of a boat, he gains new supernatural abilities. This causes a lot of tension between his older brother, younger sister and parents. As they grow older, they all grapple with the boys abilities and what it means for the siblings that dont have them. Author Kawai Strong Washburn creates a beautiful and heartbreaking story set against the backdrop of the This story is a great work of literary fiction with a heavy dose of magic. After a 7 year old boy is rescued by sharks after falling over the side of a boat, he gains new supernatural abilities. This causes a lot of tension between his older brother, younger sister and parents. As they grow older, they all grapple with the boy’s abilities and what it means for the siblings that don’t have them. Author Kawai Strong Washburn creates a beautiful and heartbreaking story set against the backdrop of the struggling sugarcane industry in Hawaii, and the streets of Portland, San Diego and Spokane. There’s a sense of urgency in the writing, which matches perfectly with the story. They are urgently trying to survive and urgently trying to understand one another. It’s another beautiful and heartbreaking novel that has such a fantastic cover.
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  • Anneke
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: Sharks In the Time of SaviorsAuthor: Kawai Strong WashburnPublisher: Fararr, Straus and Giroux/MCDPublication Date: March 3, 2020Review Date: December 16, 2019I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the blurb: Old myths clash with new realities, love is in a ride or die with grief, faith rubs hard against magic, and comic flips with tragic so much they meld into something new. All told with daredevil lyricism to burn. A ferocious Book Review: Sharks In the Time of SaviorsAuthor: Kawai Strong WashburnPublisher: Fararr, Straus and Giroux/MCDPublication Date: March 3, 2020Review Date: December 16, 2019I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the blurb:“ Old myths clash with new realities, love is in a ride or die with grief, faith rubs hard against magic, and comic flips with tragic so much they meld into something new. All told with daredevil lyricism to burn. A ferocious debut.” ―Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf“So good it hurts and hurts to where it heals. It is revelatory and unputdownable. Washburn is an extraordinarily brilliant new talent.” ―Tommy Orange, author of There ThereSharks in the Time of Saviors is a groundbreaking debut novel that folds the legends of Hawai’ian gods into an engrossing family saga; a story of exile and the pursuit of salvation from Kawai Strong Washburn.In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends.Nainoa’s family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods―a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart: Nainoa, working now as a paramedic on the streets of Portland, struggles to fathom the full measure of his expanding abilities; further north in Washington, his older brother Dean hurtles into the world of elite college athletics, obsessed with wealth and fame; while in California, risk-obsessed younger sister Kaui navigates an unforgiving academic workload in an attempt to forge her independence from the family’s legacy.When supernatural events revisit the Flores family in Hawai’i―with tragic consequences―they are all forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.”What an extraordinary debut novel. This is a story about family, family in Hawaii. I am somewhat speechless: this book is so powerfully well written. Absolutely gorgeous phrasing of language and images, over and over again. At about 85%, I thought I was looking at a tragedy-and trauma but the turning point brought out the magic and beauty rather than a tale of heartbreak. The plot arc resolves perfectly. I look forward to the author’s next book. Highly, highly recommended for thoss of you who wish to read outstanding literary works.Thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux/MCD for an early look at this book. Best of luck to the author. This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon #sharksinthetimeofsaviors #kawaiistrongwashburn#farrarstrausandgirouzmcd
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  • Jenny Shank
    January 1, 1970
    FICTION: In this debut novel by a Minneapolis author, mythic ancestral magic empowers and tests one Hawaiian family. Special to the Star Tribune FEBRUARY 28, 2020 http://www.startribune.com/review-sha...Big destiny is a thing you get drunk on, Kawai Strong Washburn writes in his sweeping, effervescent debut novel. The expectation for a grand destiny rests on Nainoa Flores, the youngest son in a native Hawaiian family. He fell off a boat when he was 7 but was rescued by sharks and returned to his FICTION: In this debut novel by a Minneapolis author, mythic ancestral magic empowers and tests one Hawaiian family. Special to the Star Tribune FEBRUARY 28, 2020 http://www.startribune.com/review-sha...“Big destiny is a thing you get drunk on,” Kawai Strong Washburn writes in his sweeping, effervescent debut novel. The expectation for a grand destiny rests on Nainoa Flores, the youngest son in a native Hawaiian family. He fell off a boat when he was 7 but was rescued by sharks and returned to his mother, gingerly, in their jaws. Nainoa goes on to excel in all subjects, from math to ukulele, and evinces mysterious healing powers.“Sharks in the Time of Saviors” incorporates magic but focuses on the real repercussions for the family of a boy tasked with an unbearable burden to use his gifts to save his home and people. Greatness, as Washburn explores, has a way of dissipating.Washburn tells the story in alternating perspectives from the members of the family. Besides Nainoa, there’s Malia and Augie Flores, the hardworking, financially struggling parents who conceive Nainoa outdoors on a night when they witness “the night marchers,” a supernatural troop of ancient Hawaiian royals processing along a ridge, carrying torches. There’s Dean, the oldest son, who distinguishes himself in basketball but little else, and Kaui, the youngest, who rivals Nainoa in intelligence and achievement even as he continually eclipses her.One of the primary delights of this novel is the singular voice that Washburn creates for each of his narrators. He writes with verve and laces their language with wit and Hawaiicisms. Nainoa earns “shaka respect from every local that heard the shark story and felt the old gods in it.” People donate much needed money to the family. The difficulty that native Hawaiians experience in surviving on the expensive islands is a strong theme. As Kaui puts it, “It became like a prayer at our house, Our Father who art in debt collection, hallowed be thy pay.”The community believes Nainoa’s magic might elevate conditions for all and rekindle respect for old traditions, but no one seems to know exactly how to achieve this. This novel questions the idea of any savior — an exceptional figure a community looks to as a leader, whether it’s an athlete, an engineer or a healer. As the novel takes somber turns, with the three Flores children scattered, pursuing college degrees on the mainland, it suggests that everyone who seeks change must contribute to it instead of waiting for a mythic guru.Washburn’s reverence and longing for the land and traditions of Hawaii is so strong you might catch homesickness even if you’re a haole (non-Hawaiian) who does strange things like butter your rice and leave your shoes on indoors. This novel graces the reader with the spirit of Hawaii, from its fragrant forests to its cultural traditions, and feels, despite its undercurrent of sadness, like a dose of tropical sun. Jenny Shank’s novel, “The Ringer,” won the High Plains Book Award. She teaches in the Mile High MFA Program and her work has appeared in McSweeney’s, the Washington Post and the Atlantic.
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  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    March 10, 2020: ✔ issues about modern Hawaiian families✔ inspired by the island legends✔ perfect balance of practicality and spirituality✔ perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez✔ magical realism with supernatural eventsMentioned on the blog: Fanticipating Reads of March 2020 | Five Under-Hyped Diverse Books To Look Out For This Month March 10, 2020: ✔ issues about modern Hawai’ian families✔ inspired by the island legends✔ perfect balance of practicality and spirituality✔ perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez✔ magical realism with supernatural eventsMentioned on the blog: Fanticipating Reads of March 2020 | Five Under-Hyped Diverse Books To Look Out For This Month
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  • Shayne Fiske Goldner
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written novel that hovers just at the brink of magical realism without ever making the jump. Sharks is an intimate family drama about the ties that bind, sometimes break, but never beyond repair. Noa was created under an ominous sign, a thumping drumming call to the Hawaiian gods and his ancestors. One of three children, as he grows, he develops divine gifts that bring his family back from the brink of poverty while causing fissures in his family that could take a lifetime to A beautifully written novel that hovers just at the brink of magical realism without ever making the jump. Sharks is an intimate family drama about the ties that bind, sometimes break, but never beyond repair. Noa was created under an ominous sign, a thumping drumming call to the Hawaiian gods and his ancestors. One of three children, as he grows, he develops divine gifts that bring his family back from the brink of poverty while causing fissures in his family that could take a lifetime to repair. The siblings struggle with their own identities and must pave their own way apart from each other, but their home and the land will never leave them. 5 stars to this debut novel!
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  • Jill Sanford
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. This author is amazinga unique, magical, and poignant voice that I enjoyed from start to finish. I cant wait to read his next work. This story meanders and at the same time is abrupt, it is subtle and mysterious and yet at the same time filled with harsh realities and real-life truths, like the hardships faced by contemporary Native Hawaiians. There were a few aspects of the plot that seemed to halt the storytelling rather than progress it but I honestly didnt care too much. The 4.5 stars. This author is amazing—a unique, magical, and poignant voice that I enjoyed from start to finish. I can’t wait to read his next work. This story meanders and at the same time is abrupt, it is subtle and mysterious and yet at the same time filled with harsh realities and real-life truths, like the hardships faced by contemporary Native Hawaiians. There were a few aspects of the plot that seemed to halt the storytelling rather than progress it but I honestly didn’t care too much. The characters are rich and the depiction of contemporary Hawaiian life, sibling bonds and grudges, parental expectations, self-imposed standards, and exile are real and visceral. At times, I questioned if the magic was real but I loved the parents—their chapter(s) held the weight and rhythm of tradition oral narratives and were just beautiful and engrossing. I loved Kaui and Dean as well, and I wanted more from them, especially Kaui.
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  • Leticia Vila-Sanjuán
    January 1, 1970
    beautiful prose, dialogues, multiple POV works well. the ending felt a bit rushed. engrossing characters.
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