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The Descendants
by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Overview - Narrated in a bold, fearless, hilarious voice 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.
Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii.
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More About The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
 
 
 
Overview
Narrated in a bold, fearless, hilarious voice 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.
Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors were financially and culturally progressive-one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state's largest landowners.
Now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control: Ten-year-old Scottie is a smart-ass with a desperate need for attention, and seventeen-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. Matt's charismatic, thrill-seeking, high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident and will soon be taken off life support. The Kings can hardly picture life without her, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them-and spurs them into surprising actions.
Before honoring Joanie's living will, Matt must gather her friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation made worse by the sudden discovery that there is one person who hasn't been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair, quite possibly the one man she ever truly loved. Forced to examine what he owes not only to the living but to the dead, Matt takes to the road with his daughters to find his wife's lover, a memorable journey that leads to both painful revelations and unforeseen humor and growth.

"From the Hardcover edition."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780812977820
  • ISBN-10: 0812977823
  • Publisher: Random House Trade
  • Publish Date: April 2008
  • Page Count: 297


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Family Life

 
BookPage Reviews

The Descendants

Set in Hawaii, Hemmings' page-turner of a debut novel is narrated by Matt King, a wealthy, well-connected attorney, who is the head of an unusual family. As the descendant of upper-crust landowners—Hawaiian royalty, no less—Matt leads a glamorous life that includes travel, flashy motorcycles and exclusive beach clubs. But when a boating accident puts his wife, Joanie, in what seems to be an irreversible coma, Matt's fast existence takes a drastic turn. He must single-handedly care for his two daughters, Scottie, a preternaturally intelligent 10-year-old, and Alex, a moody 17-year-old who is fighting a cocaine habit. Trying to survive without Joanie at the helm of the family is harder than the threesome ever imagined. When Matt discovers Joanie had been having an affair, he sets out to find her lover with the help of his daughters, and the quest leads them into new emotional territory. It's a journey that changes them forever. Matt's descent from golden boy to betrayed husband and struggling father is chronicled poignantly by Hemmings, who writes skillfully about family relationships, particularly the father-daughter bond. There's also a great deal of humor in the book, supplied largely by Scottie and Alex. This is a sensitively written novel from a promising new writer.

A reading group guide is included in the book.

 
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