Date Published: March 3, 2020

Sharks in the Time of Saviors: Summary

"Sharks in the Time of Saviors": Where the Divine Mingles with the Mundane.

Voyage to the Hawaiian islands and immerse in the powerful pages of Kawai Strong Washburn's debut novel, "Sharks in the Time of Saviors." Here, ancient mythologies rise from the Pacific and trickle into the lives of the Flores family, a familial unit spun from the vibrant threads of working-class life. In their heart-wrenching journey, the family navigates a maze of love, loss, and life, encased in a fragile bubble of miracles and mortalities.

The youngest, Nainoa, descends into the heart of a shark, only to resurface imbued with an uncanny healing power. This incident, both wondrous and alarming, molds the Flores family's destiny, its echoes reverberating through their lives across years and geography. Yet, this mystic ability proves to be both a blessing and a curse, shaping and reshaping their identities and their relationship with each other and their heritage.

As we traverse the American mainland—Portland's concrete jungle to the hallowed halls of Stanford University—the Flores' Hawaiian roots dig deeper, holding steadfast. The story, an intricate tapestry of familial bonds and spiritual exploration, is lovingly embroidered with Washburn's intimate understanding of the natural world. The result? A pulsating narrative, where the rhythm of contemporary Hawaiian life throbs against the drumbeats of ancestral legends. Welcome to "Sharks in the Time of Saviors," where the divine mingles with the mundane.

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Sharks in the Time of Saviors

Author: Kawai Strong Washburn

Date Published: March 3, 2020

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Sharks in the Time of Saviors: Genres

Contemporary Fiction
Magical Realism
Family Saga
Coming of Age

Sharks in the Time of Saviors: Main Characters

Nainoa Flores: The youngest of the Flores family, Nainoa is a symbol of the divine gifted with miraculous healing powers. He is gentle yet conflicted, constantly grappling with his extraordinary abilities and the expectations they breed.

Malia Flores: The matriarch of the Flores family, Malia’s unwavering love for her children anchors the family. She embodies strength and resilience, epitomized when she bravely dives to save Nainoa from a shark.

Augie Flores: The family’s patriarch, Augie is a beacon of hard work and tenacity. He grapples with his perceived failures as a father, evident when he struggles to provide for his family after losing his job.

Dean Flores: The eldest child, Dean is fiercely protective and ambitious. His struggle with his identity and rivalry with Nainoa represent the human instinct to be recognized and loved.

Kaui Flores: The middle child and only daughter, Kaui struggles with her sexuality and sense of belonging. Her struggle to reconcile with her identity and heritage offers profound insights into the dilemmas of modern youth.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors: Themes

Family and Identity: The book explores the complex dynamics of the Flores family, each character’s identity intertwined with the others. The parents’ struggles to provide for their children and the sibling rivalries highlight this theme.

Connection to Heritage: The theme of heritage is a poignant part of the narrative, as characters grapple with their Hawaiian roots. Nainoa’s miraculous powers represent a connection to ancestral Hawaiian mythology.

Socioeconomic Struggles: Through the Flores family, the book sheds light on the challenges faced by working-class families. This is showcased by Augie’s job loss and subsequent struggle to provide for his family.

Supernatural vs. Reality: The novel juxtaposes the extraordinary with the ordinary, embodied in Nainoa’s divine powers within a real-world setting. This theme plays out as Nainoa navigates life with his supernatural abilities.

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