Saturday, July 25, 2015

"SONG OF THE EXILE"

I finished it!! And, all I can say is Wow!!

I just read "Song of The Exile" by Kiana Davenport.


I could not wait to do a review but I am hesitant to recommend it. Why, you might ask? Because it is so heart wrenching, so tragic, so emotional. 

But, now, I know you will want to read it. Don't say I didn't warn you!!

The book, 382 pages, weave a tragic and passionate tale of love and survival. It's characters are unusual, compelling, drawing. The story starts in the late 1930s in Honolulu where Keo Meahuna is haunted by his love of music, not Hawaiian music but the new jazz that is sweeping the mainland. He learns to play a trumpet, very well, and travels to New Orleans to play where Jazz was born. He leaves behind the love of his life, Sunny Sung. 

Faced with racial disturbance in the South, Keo moves on to Paris where he is an instant hit. Sunny follows but the Nazis are edging closer and closer and finally she flees. Keo can't leave his music so they are parted. 

Pearl Harbor is bombed, Sunny is in Shanghai where she is captured and kept as a P-Girl (prostitute for Japanese soldiers) and is brutally tortured. She sees and endures more than any human should. The war ends and Keo begin searching for Sunny. The suffering, tragedy and survival of Keo and Sunny runs through each chapter tying them in the past and the present from the 1930s, through WWII, Hawaii's statehood and after.

There were times I did not think I could read one more page, as Davenport is very graphic in description of the horrors of the war, of prison camps, of death, of struggles. But, then I'd turn to the next page totally immersed. I didn't want to read it. I did want to read it. I couldn't put it down. 

In doing a little research on Kiana Davenport I was pretty proud to find out that her Dad was a sailor from my home state, Alabama. He was stationed in Hawaii and fell in love with a full-blooded native Hawaiian. Their daughter, Kiana, is the author of the book.

The fact that my husband was a sailor and he, me and our little family lived in Honolulu for a time made the book all that much more interesting. I recalled streets she mentioned, food, flowers, it just brought it all back to me. We were there when the Hawaiian islands were U. S. territories. Statehood came shortly after we left there. 

So, read it. I think you will be captured by the spellbinding way Davenport writes. 

4 comments:

  1. Wow! What a GREAT review! You have me so intrigued. I know how you shy away from tragic writing, and to hear you say you felt at times you couldn't read one more page because of the graphic descriptions, but was compelled to do so, and just couldn't put the book down, intrigues me even more! I will HAVE to read this one for sure. How interesting the writer's Dad was a sailor from Alabama, too. The connections to my Dad (an Alabama boy) being stationed in Hawaii and the author's Dad doing so as well was so interesting. I remember so little about our time there, but for you it was a wonderful experience, and I know you had to love all the descriptions of Hawaii. Well, hopefully we'll all give this one a shot, and I'd love to hear all the reactions as I know you will too.

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  2. Sounds really intriguing. I'll have to add it to my list.

    Who was it told me that Copper Beech was a good one? I did read it and it was. Currently reading Boys in the Boat.

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  3. I think the recommendation on Copper Beech was from me. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. This sounds like something I would love.....history, romance, tragedy, re-uniting....it's going on the book list. I do think it is important to read raw truth and not all happy endings. That is what life is all about. Thanks for the great review! - K

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