cover image House of Many Gods

House of Many Gods

Kiana Davenport, Author . Ballantine $24.95 (330p) ISBN 978-0-345-48150-4

A family battles poverty, government indifference and each other in Davenport's rich third novel (Song of Exile ). Ana's mother, the beautiful Anahola, fled the Hawaiian coastal town of Nanakuli, on Oahu, when Ana was still small for a new life on her own in San Francisco, leaving Ana to bring herself up in a house filled with wounded veteran uncles in an impoverished town riddled by drugs and teenage thugs. Determined not to become like her beloved but abused cousin, pregnant at 15 and stuck, Ana fights her way through college and medical school. Furious at her estranged mother, she nonetheless yearns for her, calling her California home just to hear her breathe. Leery of love and of the damaged men who populate her world, she finally opens her heart to Nikolai Volenko, a Russian filmmaker with a dangerous past, who's come to the Waianae coast to document the threat of a nearby weapons factory. When Niki is forced to return to Russia, Ana has to decide whether to accept her mother's help in finding the man she loves or retreat to the safety of the island she has never left. This is a lush, ambitious novel that delves deeply into familial conflict and forgiveness and offers a fascinating glimpse into the beauty and contradictions of native Hawaiian culture. Agent, Lane Zachary. (Jan.)