The Descendants

Kaui Hart Hemmings, Author . Random $24.95 (283p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6633-9

Hemmings's bittersweet debut novel, an expansion of her first published short story ("The Minor Wars," from House of Thieves and originally published in StoryQuarterly ), stars besieged and wryly introspective attorney Matt King, the land-rich descendant of Hawaiian royalty and American missionaries and entrepreneurs. He wrestles with the decision of whether to keep his swath of valuable inherited land or sell it to a real estate developer. But even more critical, Matt also has to decide whether to pull the plug on his wife, Joanie, who has been in an irreversible coma for 23 days following a boat-racing accident. Then Matt finds out that Joanie was having an affair with real estate broker Brian Speer, impelling him to travel with his two daughters—precocious 10-year-old Scottie and fresh from rehab 17-year-old Alex—from Oahu to Kauai to confront Brian. Matt finds out the truth about Joanie and Brian, which influences his decision about what to do with his family's on-the-block land and complicates his plans for Joanie. Matt's journey with his girls forms the emotional core of this sharply observed, frequently hilarious and intermittently heartbreaking look at a well-meaning but confused father trying to hold together his unconventional family. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/05/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 283 pages - 978-0-224-08137-5
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Compact Disc - 978-1-60998-108-2
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