Kristiana Kahakauwila is Native Hawaiian, born and raised in Southern California. The separation of place and culture is a recurring theme in her writing, as are questions regarding Western and Oceanic notions of tradition, ownership, and ethnic identity. Kahakauwila earned a Bachelor's Degree in Comparative Literature from Princeton University. She subsequently worked as a magazine editor before earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiction from the University of Michigan. Kahakauwila lives in Hawai`i, where she teaches at Chaminade University of Honolulu. THIS IS PARADISE is her fiction debut.
Joyce Carol Oates: "Vividly imagined, beautifully written, at times almost unbearably suspenseful - the stories in Kristiana Kahakauwila's debut collection, THIS IS PARADISE, are boldly inventive in their exploration of the tenuous nature of human relations."
Kirkus Reviews: "Finely wrought work from an impressive new talent."
Elle: "[A] sparkling debut story collection . . . A writer with one foot in the native Hawaiian community and the other in the mainland mainstream gives us an edgy, unmistakably authentic glimpse of the harder side of island life. . . . Kahakauwila captures in six related stories the striving lives, colorful pidgin dialect, and varied relationships that anchor and challenge her strikingly drawn characters."
Publishers Weekly: "Kahakauwila's debut short-story collection offers a stirring glimpse into the daily lives of contemporary Hawaiians torn between native traditions and the pull of mainland lifestyles. . . . Filled with an energy and outrage reminiscent of Jamaica Kincaid . . . A well-crafted work that compassionately treats the men and women who love and suffer in an island paradise."
Alix Ohlin, author of INSIDE: "In these lively, accomplished stories, Kristiana Kahakauwila paints a vivid portrait of modern Hawai'i - not the gauzy ideal of tourist vacations, but the messy, fascinating reality of its inhabitants. This is an impressive debut by a writer to watch."