House of Many Gods
By Kiana Davenport
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345481511, 352pp.)
Publication Date: June 26, 2007
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From Kiana Davenport, the bestselling author of Song of the Exile and Shark Dialogues, comes another mesmerizing novel about her people and her islands. Told in spellbinding and mythic prose, House of Many Gods is a deeply complex and provocative love story set against the background of Hawaii and Russia. Interwoven throughout with the indelible portrait of a native Hawaiian family struggling against poverty, drug wars, and the increasing military occupation of their sacred lands.
Progressing from the 1960s to the turbulent present, the novel begins on the island of O’ahu and centers on Ana, abandoned by her mother as a child. Raised by her extended family on the “lawless” Wai’anae coast, west of Honolulu, Ana, against all odds, becomes a physician. While tending victims of Hurricane ‘Iniki on the neighboring island of Kaua’i, she meets Nikolai, a Russian filmmaker with a violent and tragic past, who can confront reality only through his unique prism of lies. Yet he is dedicated to recording the ecological horrors in his motherland and across the Pacific.
As their lives slowly and inextricably intertwine, Ana and Nikolai’s story becomes an odyssey that spans decades and sweeps the reader from rural Hawaii to the forbidding Arctic wastes of Russia; from the poverty-stricken Wai’anae coast to the glittering harshness of “new Moscow” and the haunting, faded beauty of St. Petersburg. With stunning narrative inventiveness, Davenport has created a timeless epic of loss and remembrance, of the search for family and identity, and, ultimately, of the redemptive power of love.
Of Native Hawaiian and Anglo American descent, Kiana Davenport is the author of the bestselling novels Shark Dialogues and Song of the Exile. She has been a Bunting Fellow at Harvard, a Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University, and a Recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant. Her short stories have won numerous O. Henry Awards, Pushcart Prizes, and the Best American Short Story Award in 2000. She lives in New York City and Hawaii.
Praise for Kiana Davenport’s Song of the Exile
“Reading this novel is an overwhelming experience. . . . Davenport’s prose is sharp and shining as a sword, yet her sense of poetry and love of nature permeate each line.”
“Deeply moving . . . You can’t read Kiana Davenport without being transformed.”
“What separates [Song of the Exile] from its genre . . . is its intensity of feeling, its body of sensuous detail present on every one of its pages, and its dedication to a level of writing very few bestsellers possess.”
“Song of the Exile transports the reader into an often-magical world by the power of its story. Its language is at times a song, and sometimes a cry in the dark. . . . Davenport’s imagination and vision will haunt you for a long time.”