The floating city : a novel /
Pamela Ball.
New York : Viking, c2002.
262 p.
0670894729 (alk. paper)
More Details
New York : Viking, c2002.
0670894729 (alk. paper)
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2002-02-15:
In Ball's second novel (after Lush), a dead body carried down from the hills behind Honolulu becomes the focal point of the seething unrest and political corruption during the last years of Queen Liliuokalani's reign in the 1890s. After discovering the corpse in a quiet cove, a group of native women are torn between reporting their gruesome discovery and concealing it from authorities, but at last they convince Eva the fortuneteller to contact the police. As a European immigrant, Eva is more likely to be believed and less likely to suffer any repercussions than her native friends. However, when she returns with the police, the body is gone, and Eva, a woman with a profession and a past shady enough to make her sympathetic to these disenfranchised islanders, is drawn into a web of political intrigue and treachery that epitomizes the conflicts racking the island kingdom. While Ball's lush and evocative tale is also a love story, it is the tormented queen, her island kingdom, and her people that truly haunt the reader. A thought-provoking tale; for larger collections. Cynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2002-02-04:
A chilling calm pervades this intriguing tale of imminent revolution, set in 1890s Hawaii. When the body of a wealthy island man is discovered on a Honolulu beach, locals nominate newcomer Eva Hanson to inform the police. The young Norwegian woman has a dubious reputation as a fortune-teller and dispenser of homeopathic sugar pills, but she is "haole, white-skinned, a color the police wouldn't be suspicious of." But when Eva enters the police station, she's put on the defensive, heatedly questioned about the dead man's identity. Now both the police and ubiquitous politician Cornelius Rhodes keep turning up at the house she shares with opium-addicted Lehua, demanding to know if Eva thinks the dead man was a Royalist, a follower of the deposed Queen Lili'uokalani. Gradually, Eva realizes that she is being framed for the man's death by Rhodes, an American colluding with black-suited missionaries to control the island. As martial law is declared, Eva knows she should flee, but she can't leave fragile Lehua, or her new love, McClelland, an elusive Scotsman with a family secret. There's more than a whiff of Out of Africa in the Eva/McClelland romance, but everything else about Ball's second novel after Lava, also set in Hawaii, is a revelation. The characters are wholly imagined creations but always just out of reach, damaged and a little dangerous, like the gorgeous, unstable island setting. Readers will be hooked by the understated mystery plot, but what they'll take away is the shock of cultural upheaval and the sting of Ball's prose, "beautiful as a curved knife." (Mar. 18) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, February 2002
Library Journal, February 2002
Publishers Weekly, February 2002
Booklist, March 2002
Booklist, April 2002
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Main Description
On a sultry Honolulu morning, a body washes up on a beach. For Eva Hanson, the only haole (Caucasian) among the group of women fishing who discover it, this becomes her kuleana, her obligation to report it to the police. But this body, not meant to be found, is missing when the police arrive. With no family and few friends, Eva, a European living under a stolen name on the fringes of society, becomes an easy target. Now a suspect in the missing man's death, Eva meets McClelland, a Scotsman with a past as mysterious as hers. Against her own instincts, she begins to fall in love. But McClelland has troubles of his own. And Eva cannot escape the growing maelstrom of political and social upheaval as conflicting cultures vie for control of the island: Royalists still loyal to the overthrown queen; politicians in favor of annexation to the United States; missionaries looking to spread Christianity; and Hawaiians hoping to salvage what they can of their homeland, once a paradise, now ravaged by riots and disease. With stunning prose that is both lush and sensual, Pamela Ball wondrously re-creates this unique period of time. Kuleana is a gorgeously written, evocative tale of an outsider thrust into intrigue-and the treacherous search for truth amid corruption and chaos.

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