Narrated in a fearless voice full of bold hilarity and set against the lush, panoramic backdrop of Hawaii, The Descendants is a stunning debut novel about an unconventional family forced to come together and re-create its own legacy.
A descendant of one of Hawaii's largest landowners, Matthew King finds his luck has changed. His two daughters - Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old, and Alex, a teenage recovering drug addict - are out of control; his thrill-seeking, high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident and will soon be taken off life support. Suddenly the King family must come to terms with this tragedy - and with the shameful sense of freedom that comes with it.
As Matt gathers Joanie's friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation is made worse by the discovery that one person hasn't been told - the man with whom Joanie has been having an affair. Forced to examine what he owes not only to the living but also to the dead, Matt takes to the road with his daughters to find his wife's lover on a memorable journey of painful revelations and unforeseen humour.
“An unsentimental tragicomedy, whose somewhat hopeless male protagonist is so believable that it's a surprise to discover his creator is young, female and only on her first novel.'”
Dazed and Confused
“Hemmings' quirkily assured touch, her grasp of the absurd and the lush Hawaiian setting ensures this novel's balance between heartbreak and hilarity”
“Full of dark humour and astute observations, this is a deftly written rumination on the meaning of family and ancestry”
“A panoramic tragicomedy about the transience of life...a sensitive, unsentimental vision that is often peppered with comic barbs...treads the fragile thread between heartbreak and humour, announcing Kaui Hart Hemmings as a writer of prodigious gifts”
“A brave and intelligent novel”