San Francisco Book Review

Maile Manoa, of German/Chinese/Hawaiian heritage, finds herself strangely drawn to the world of opera after hearing a smidgen of O Patria Mia from Verdi’s Aïda while in grade school. The depictions of her trials and triumphs are so vivid, you’re there with her as she struggles to find her place in the haole world, where she’ll always be an outsider. This is especially so in Salzburg, which was still probably 200 years behind the rest of the world. (In 1968, that is.)

The music portions are dead-on. I am convinced that Chapter 5 should be worth at least three lessons for an intermediate level student. It seems reasonable to think that von Wehrlen is patterned after Herbert von Karajan, the most notorious classical music conductor of his era. I was a music student in that time and clearly recall when he came to Detroit in 1955, and the riots generated by his visit. But – don’t let my emphasis on the music deter you from reading this fascinating and beautifully-written novel. Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

San Francisco Book Review

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About Waimea Williams

Memoir, 2004, Island Heritage. Debut novel, "Aloha, Mozart," 2012, Luminis Books. Various awards for fiction.
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