Pub Date 2 Apr 2020
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'The novel you never knew you were waiting for'
'I didn't want it to end'
In 1995 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores is saved from drowning by a shiver of sharks. His family, struggling to make ends meet amidst the collapse of the sugar cane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favour from ancient Hawaiian gods.
But as time passes, this hope gives way to economic realities, forcing Nainoa and his siblings to seek salvation across the continental United States, leaving behind home and family.
With a profound command of language, Washburn's powerful debut novel examines what it means to be both of a place, and a stranger in it.
A Note From the Publisher
'The novel you never knew you were waiting for. 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'
'Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a brilliant novel and one of the most engaging and memorable books I’ve read this year. Sentences sparkle, the narrative voices remain distinctive and complete, and the deep notes of magic sound under the realism of poverty and loss. I didn’t want it to end'
'Sharks in the Time of Saviours bursts with life. It is bright and beautifully noisy. It’s so good it hurts and hurts to where it heals. It is revelatory and unputdownable. Washburn is an extraordinarily brilliant new talent. This family saga is shark tooth sharp. Its pages shoot off crackles and sparks, and you come out of it changed. It is sublime'
TOMMY ORANGE, author of THERE, THERE
'Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a story of trauma passed down through the generations, of how poverty, grief, and broken dreams weave their way through the lives of one family. Yet it is a story told with joy, even humour, in lyrical, hypnotic prose that will stay with you long after you turn the last page'
TAHMIMA ANAM, author of THE BONES OF GRACE
'Kawai Strong Washburn has written the great Hawaiian novel. This is the story of a family that becomes the story of the islands. A place that most people don't know outside of glossy postcards and beachside vacations . . . A volcanic powerhouse of a debut'
BENJAMIN PERCY, author of RED MOON
'One of the finest debut novels I’ve read in years, a story about the resilience of family and resilience of home – a story at once lucid, original and transcendent. Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a piece of magic'
OMAR EL AKKAD, author of AMERICAN WAR
'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 CHANGELING
'Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a lush, virtuosic novel with breathless scope and lasting depth. Kawai Strong Washburn's vision is searing, his talent explosive, his heart beating loud and proud on every page'
CLAIRE VAYE WATKINS, author of GOLD, FAME, CITRUS
'A feverish, booming orchestra of a novel that leaps off the cliff’s edge into a world of delirious strangeness, fury and hope. Read it for its tour de force storytelling. Read it because it is, quite simply, endlessly, mesmerising'
PAUL YOON, author of SNOW HUNTERS