From the Lanai and Other Hawaiian Stories


Soft and lilting is Saiki’s style in this collection of short stories that deals with a variety of topics, settings, and characters. Always, though, her characters are of Hawaiian heritage and are often facing a conflict because of this ancestry. Nothing revolutionary is covered–an only child goes astray, a door-to-door salesman catches the eye of a naive young girl, a male employer makes overtures to a domestic–but the selections have a staying power that seems to be partially due to the author’s soothing, melodious description. Should an unusual assortment of short stories be needed or ethnic literature be an area of augmentation, this would be a unique and beneficial addition to the shelves.
Diane Goheen, Topeka West High School

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Jessica Kawasuna Saiki grew up in the Japanese-American community in Hawaii. her critically acclaimed first collection of short stories, Once, A Lotus Garden (New Rivers Press, 1987), is set in that community, just before and during the Second World War. The book was named by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the nine best trade paperbacks of 1987.

Ms. Saiki, a longtime resident of Watertown, Wisconsin, has recently moved to Denver, Colorado. In addition to writing, Ms. Saiki is also an accomplished artist.


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