Tag Archives: Honolulu

Come Win a Copy of Come Sunday

Thanks to Picador, we have a giveaway copy of the novel Come Sunday by Isla Morley.   This trade paperback book will be released on August 3, 2010 but you have a chance to win it now.   Here is a synopsis of the story:

Abbe is a restless young mother living on the outskirts of Honolulu with her husband, Greg, the pastor at a small church.   Their lives are suddenly riven by tragedy when their three-year-old daughter, Cleo, is struck and killed by a car.   As Greg turns to God and community for comfort, Abbe turns inward and reflects upon her own troubled past.   Isla Morley brilliantly weaves the story of Abbe’s grief with a gripping tale of her tempestuous childhood in apartheid South Africa  – and how Abbe’s father, a villainous drunk, held her family hostage for decades with his rage, until they finally began to plot their escape from him.   Come Sunday is a spellbinding drama about a woman breaking free of her grief and of her past, and what it takes to revive hope when all seems lost.

Here are some of the critical comments about this work:

“A heart-wrenching tale of unthinkable loss and hard-won healing.   This is a novel to savor.”   Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

“A phenomenal debut…”   San Diego Union-Tribune

“A compelling tale of survival, reinvention, and hope, in the end, Come Sunday is…  about personal redemption and resurrection…  Vivid and poignant.”   The Boston Globe

“An intense and ambitious first novel, and an exquisitely detailed exploration of the mother-daughter bond.”   Los Angeles Magazine

“Firmly establishing her in the pantheon of such insightful authors as Chris Bohjalian, Sue Miller, and Anita Shreve, Morley’s…  read-in-one-sitting tale of loss and renewal will haunt readers.”   Booklist

To enter our contest, just post a comment here or send an e-mail with your name and e-mail address to Josephsreviews@gmail.com .   This will count as a first entry.   For a second entry, just post another message here or send a second e-mail with the words, “This is my second entry.”   Easy, huh?

The winner’s name will be drawn by Munchy the cat, our contest administrator, and the winner will be contacted by e-mail.   This person will be asked to supply a residential (street) mailing address in the U. S. – not a P.O. box or business address – so that Picador can ship the book directly to him/her.  

You have until Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at Midnight PST to submit your entry/entries.   Good luck and good reading!

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A Tour of American Chinatowns

American ChinatownA book about visiting five American Chinatowns sounds like a fascinating idea: however, the writing in Bonnie Tsui’s book – labeled American Chinatown (singular) – does not seem to have met its potential.   Tsui visits the Chinatowns of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City and Honolulu (Sacramento is not included).   She does a great job of writing about San Francisco and Honolulu with just the right combination of factual information and human interest stories.   The segments on the other three Chinatowns fall short.   They read a bit too breezy, as though written for an airline magazine, or Sunset.

There’s also a problem in that one basic premise is stated too often:  Chinatowns are places to grow up in, places to leave and places to which one may wish to return later.   These neighborhoods are both ethnic villages and tourist traps.   Further, in preserving a particular culture and lifestyle (at a particular point in time), they may become separatist enclaves, something that troubles the author.

This reader would have liked a comparison among these Chinatowns and other ethnic communities, such as Japantown and Koreatown in L.A., and Solvang.   As it is, this book comes off a bit flat, like a Chinese meal served without fortune cookies.

Free Press, $25.00, 288 pages

This review was written by Joseph Arellano.   Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.

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