The Last Paradise: A Novel by James D. Houston. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. 364 pages, cloth $22.95. Novels that take place in Hawai`i almost invariably hinge on the sacredness of the land, the importance of family and ancestors, and the continuing vitality of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire. While James D. Houston's novel The Last Paradise is no exception, it is set apart from such books by a strong plot: a local woman recovers her family--past and present--while her haole lover discovers his dead father as a source of meaning and guidance. We meet the main character, Travis Doyle, a claims adjuster for a small insurance firm, as he receives an assignment to Hawai`i's Big Island to check fire damage on a site where Energy Source, a Western Sun subsidiary company, has been preparing to drill for steam. Once on the Big Island, Travis resumes his acquaintance with Evangeline/ Angel, a woman he first encountered sixteen years earlier. The renewal of this romantic relationship becomes entangled with Travis's investigation of the insurance claim and with the cross-cultural values of the islands. The author makes clear how socially and culturally offensive the big corporation's planned geothermal
Manoa – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Apr 1, 2000
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