Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Reviewed by Josh Aterovis
Island Song is a beautiful novel. Technically, this book would probably be categorized as a romance novel, but it's really so much more. Island Song is about loss, healing, finding love in unexpected places, leaving the world a better place when we're gone... and the sacrifices we sometimes have to make to achieve that.
First-time-author Alan Chin writes characters that are richly drawn. Garrett's pain is revealed slowly through flashbacks and dreams. He's a broken man haunted by the love of his life, but he has to let go in order to move on. Songoree is a sensitive, sweet soul. While he doesn't quite fit in with his rough-and-tumble surfer buddies, he's accepted as one of the gang as long as he sticks to the straight and narrow.
Even the secondary characters are vivid: Grandfather, Audrey, Mother Kamamalu, Hap. Each stands on their own as fully realized personalities, adding depth and dimension to an already strong story. Just as important as the human characters is the island upon which the story is set, Hawaii. While Chin does a fantastic job of recreating the lush, exotic feel of the island, he goes beyond a mere travelogue and really captures the spirit of the island.
The book is written in the present tense, an unusual approach these days. It took me a while to get into the rhythm, but once I did, the style really works. It creates a sense of urgency and immediacy that serves the story well. I was completely enchanted by this novel, and I look forward to more from Alan Chin.
Posted by AlanChinWriter at 1:17 AM