The authors’ original words do their work more justice than any book review I write, and when grouped together, the quotes become atmospheric of the state they are set in. I hope you enjoy this addition of a “Favorite Quotes” series to my Andrea Reads America coverage.

The Descendents by Kaui Hart Hemmings book cover

From The Descendents by Kaui Hart Hemmings

“The tropics make it difficult to mope. I bet in big cities you can walk down the street scowling and no one will ask you what’s wrong or encourage you to smile, but everyone here has the attitude that we’re lucky to live in Hawaii; paradise reigns supreme.”

“I look at my wife. I need you, I think. I need you here to help our daughters and me. I don’t know how to talk to people. I don’t know how to live correctly.”

“At the club the shrubs are covered in surfboards.”

“Whenever I land on the Big Island, I feel as though I’ve gone back in time. There’s an abandoned look to Hawaii, like it’s just been hit by a tsunami.”

“I like the way men cry. They’re efficient.”

“We walk until there aren’t any more houses, all the way to the part of the beach where the current makes the waves come in and then rush back out so that two waves clash, water casting up like a geyser.”

“We’ve run our assets into the ground. We’re Hawaiian — it’s a miracle we own this much of Hawaii. Why let some haole swoop it up? We’ve been careless.”

The House of Pride and other tales of Hawaii by Jack London

From The House of Pride by Jack London

“The choking jungle, with its riot of blossoms, had been driven back from the bananas, oranges, and mangoes that grew wild.”

“And, outside the rigid ‘Missionary Crowd,’ the white men yield to the climate and the sun, and no matter how busy they may be, are prone to dance and sing and wear flowers behind their ears and in their hair.”

“One judgment he achieved early, namely, that men did not become rich from the labor of their own hands”

“I looked through a screen of banana and lehua trees, and down across the guava scrub to the quiet sea a thousand feet beneath.”

Song of the Exile by Kiana Davenport

From Song of the Exile by Kiana Davenport

“In every yard, chicken coops, orchids rioting in lard cans, blue sobs of jacaranda. And mango trees drooping with lianas, shell ginger hanging like pink jewels.”

“She got to study privileged whites — how they used silence, how they could summon waiters with a glance.”

“Kaiena meant ‘red hot.’ This jagged finger of land pointing boldly westward was worthy of its name. At sunset its waters boiled orange, coral beaches sizzled, shrubs burst into flame.”

“‘I made terrible mistakes. Mistakes tell us who we are.'”

“‘There is no need to do, or undo. The world changes us far more than we change the world. Just stand still. Things will unfold.'”

“When certain winds blow through empty gourds, means it’s deep-sea-fishing time.”

“‘My God, don’t talk as if it’s over! We’re still youngsters, hardly fifty. Why, it takes fifty years just to step back and get a running start.'”

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