cover image East Wind, Rain

East Wind, Rain

Caroline Paul, . . Morrow, $23.95 (257pp) ISBN 978-0-06-078075-3

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, an isolated Hawaiian community realizes new fears and questions old loyalties in this novel based on actual events. A lone fighter plane plummets into the secluded island of Niihau, owned by white American Alymer Robinson, on December 7, 1941. Howard Kaleohano, the village elder, spots the downed aircraft and urges its Japanese pilot, Nishikaichi, out of the cockpit. Since the villagers don't have radios and haven't heard of the bombing (or even the war), they don't know what to make of Nishikaichi. Howard decides they should simply wait for Robinson, the island's owner, to arrive. When he doesn't show, Robinson's beekeeper, Yoshio Harada, and Harada's wife, Irene, both Japanese-Americans, are the only islanders who can understand Nishikaichi's account of Pearl Harbor and his own mission, as well as his plans: he's not significantly injured, and intends to destroy his plane and the papers he carried with him. As the young couple wrestles with a sense of U.S. patriotism that has been wounded by past encounters with prejudice, suspicions overwhelm a once peaceful community. Paul (whose twin sister is Baywatch star Alexandra Paul) wrote a memoir, Fighting Fire , about her time as a San Francisco firefighter; her debut novel moves slowly, but with a lyricism that contributes to her characters' development. It's a promising performance. (On sale Mar. 14)