Sunday, August 14, 2005


Isle Pages

New releases from
Hawaii authors


"Buss Laugh -- Stand Up Poetry From Hawaii,"
edited by Lee A. Tonouchi
(Major Danger, $5)

This seems to be a new age of pidgin fanciers. This chapbook of transcribed "stand-up poems" from local authors has the incisive insight of stand-up comedy, al'mixup with the lean elegance of modern poetry.


"Children of a Fireland,"
by Gary Pak
(University of Hawaii, $17.95)

Disturbing messages began appearing on the walls of an empty movie theater in a rural nighbor island town. Whoever's writing them knows far too much about the private lives of folks there, and soon the town is abuzz. Ghost story? Mystery? Pak's ear for Hawaii dialogue and eye for telling detail makes this a compelling read.


"Hawai'i A Pilipino Dream,"
by Virgilio Menor Felipe
(Mutual, $15.95)

Felipe, a University of Hawaii human landmark, began to talk story with immigrant Lilo Bonipasyo back in the '70s, and this book of rich epigrams is a distillation of the man's memories of the Philippines and Hawaii. There's no real narrative -- it's like flash cards, and alas, the pictures printed poorly.


"West of Then,"
by Tara Bray Smith
(Simon & Shuster, $24)

Smith, raised in Hawaii and escaped to New York, has fashioned a first novel that seems equal part harrowing childhood memories and part Lifetime ladies' movie. It's part of a new generation of writing about the islands that's fond without being sentimental.

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