Winner of the 2021 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel
Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a brilliantly original and inventive novel, the sweeping story of a family living in poverty among the remnants of Hawai’i’s mythic past and the wreckage of the American dream.
Revelatory and unputdownable… You come out of it changed ~ Tommy Orange, author of There, There
The novel you never knew you were waiting for… Told with daredevil lyricism to burn ~ Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Sharks in the Time of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn
At seven years old, Nainoa falls into the sea and a shark takes him in its jaws – only to return him, unharmed, to his parents. His family, struggling to make ends meet amidst the collapse of the sugar cane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favour from ancient Hawaiian gods.
For the next thirty years Noa and his siblings struggle with life in the shadow of this miracle. As time passes, hope gives way to economic realities, forcing Nainoa and his siblings to seek salvation across the continental United States, leaving behind home and family.
With a profound command of language, Washburn’s powerful debut novel examines what it means to be both of a place, and a stranger in it.