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The Death of Aloha

The Death of Aloha

K imo Silva, Honolulu’s incoming mayor, inherits a city that faces hard times. Economic decline, Asian conflict, and internal ethnic strife threaten to unravel the Aloha Spirit that keeps Honolulu’s diverse population at peace. His own son, Luke, becomes a victim of ethnic intolerance when he is “hijacked” and threatened on his way to school. A series of related confrontations and crimes divides Honolulu’s ethnic groups and enflames people who feel victimized by social forces they cannot control. Honolulu has been a model city for ethnic tranquility for decades, but Kimo knows that the peace Honolulu enjoys is both fragile and critical. He is determined to preserve Honolulu’s Aloha Spirit. But what can he do to reverse the trend? And what must he sacrifice in order to do it?


With this work, AK Gunn has transported me to Hawaii. He has allowed me to step into a world seen through the eyes of the people who live there. As always, his characters are well-drawn and the book draws me through. I am a fan! ★★★★★

Even though this novel is familiar to those living in Hawaii, the social, cultural, and racial situations could easily be found in another part of the country, with different groups. The complex relationships are described with (sometimes disturbing) realism. The themes of this book are very relevant for today. From a purely enjoyment perspective, this book is a page turner. The character descriptions and their interactions enhance the plot where I wanted to read a little more to see how things would turn out. The tension builds at just the right pace, displaying the skill of A.K. Gunn's writing ability. ★★★★★

Having spent many years in the islands, and particularly because I was plugged into the haole establishment, I feel qualified to comment. Author Gunn has done a masterful job of capturing the fragile essence of aloha, and how it binds the disparate ethnic and racial communities. Those of us who love the islands are hard-pressed to offer realistic solutions to the myriad problems which seem to plague this small corner of the U.S. in a unique manner. There appears to be genuine effort to save a community torn by forces frequently beyond local control, but it remains a monumental task in this day of instant judgement and lack of patience. I hope the efforts at reconciliation are successful to preserve the character of this marvelous pocket of humanity. ★★★★★

I was somewhat surprised to read of the extremes of hatred and racism in Hawaii, beautiful Hawaii. Gunn's writing, again, is superior, and I came away from this read with many questions and thoughts as to how to change these attitudes. It seems our entire culture is heading this way, and it needs to be stopped. But how? In THE DEATH OF ALOHA, we see at least a start toward a solution, though I felt that the problem is much more complex and that it will take years to solve. Unfortunately, our current POTUS has brought much divisiveness to our entire country, taking us back years in our fight toward any kind of unification. As in Gunn's book, this needs to be shown by action and deed, along with care and law. All in all, a good thoughtful book that I would recommend highly. ★★★★

The novel’s opening scenes focus on the mayor’s son and his troubles with bullying classmates. But as the new mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii, Kimo fast learns that discord on the island does not begin in the schools. The extensive ethnic backgrounds represented in the county of Honolulu also reflect the diverse and churning emotions about what 'aloha' really means. As tension builds - something author A K Gunn has mastered with this telling - the voice of the people becomes louder and more demanding. Kimo is willing to compromise wherever possible to retain the true spirit of unity and love. But those who feel their rights have been squandered prefer conflict and disruption to the mayor’s idea of cooperation. Until drastic changes are made to recognize their losses, the ‘aloha spirit’ will suffer, maybe even die. Kimo’s plan is to unite and heal. Some judge his proposal as too idealistic. Others outright refuse to listen. In the end, Kimo must deal with the bloody expressions of anger that stand between his goals and the death of aloha. ★★★★★

Realistic storyline weaving through the lives of these well developed characters. I especially loved the young son of the Mayor. Story was sad but hopeful at the same time. ★★★★★

AK Gun shows us a Hawaii tourists never see. It's a candid look at the melting pot of the Pacific that sometimes boils over. An engaging read. ★★★★

Written by a Yale 1965 classmate, so I've got to say it was 5-star! "A. K. Gunn" is a world-renown pediatric orthopaedic surgeon to boot. I sent the book along to a George Washington University Law School 1968 classmate, Jeffrey N. Watanabe. Jeff was Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inuoye's personal attorney for 50 years, 'til he died in 2012. Jeff reports that he very much liked the book, as did I. William R. Thomas, II (Yale 1965 and George Washington U. Law School 1968) P.S. I practiced law and have lived in San Diego since 1973) ★★★★★

How close are we, really, to disaster? We think of Hawai’i as the Land of Aloha, a lovely melting pot where we're all enriched by the many races and cultures. In A.K. Gunn’s just-published novel, Honolulu is a powder keg of racial tension just waiting to blow. A series of events as far away as the China Sea sends Hawai’i’s economy spiraling. The police are conducting homeless sweeps. The already volatile situation ignites into widespread violence. But don’t despair. The story does have some resolution. Could it really happen? I say the scenario is very plausible. I grew up as a haole in Hawaii and I’m well aware of the racial hatred that seethes just below the surface and in isolated incidences boils to the top. This is probably A.K. Gun's strongest work to date. He brings up issues that we who live here must examine, before it's too late. The author's love for the islands comes through with each word. The characters are complex and the action taut. Everyone should read this eye-opening scenario of what could happen on our beautiful island. ★★★★★

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