The Descendants

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Fortunes have changed for the King family, descendants of Hawaiian royalty and one of the state’s largest landowners. Matthew King’s daughters-Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old, and Alex, a seventeen-year-old recovering drug addict-are out of control, and their charismatic, thrill-seeking mother, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident. She will soon be taken off life support.

As Matt gathers his wife’s friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation is made worse by the sudden discovery that there’s one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair. Forced to examine what they owe not only to the living but to the dead, Matt, Scottie, and Alex take to the road to find Joanie’s lover, on a memorable journey that leads to unforeseen humor, growth, and profound revelations.

“The narrator of this audaciously comic d?but novel, the scion of the last Hawaiian landowning clan, has floated through his privileged life: marriage to a model given to “speedboats, motorcycles, alcoholism”; children getting into trouble (cocaine, bullying) at ?lite schools; membership at a century-old beach club that rejects those with “unfavorable pedigrees.” But when a catamaran accident leaves his wife in a coma he must wake from his own “prolonged unconsciousness,” reacquaint himself with his neglected daughters, and track down his wife’s lover. Meanwhile, his cousins are urging him to sell the family’s vast landholdings for development-to relinquish, in his eyes, the final vestige of their native Hawaiian ancestry. Hemmings channels the voice of her befuddled middle-aged hero with virtuosity, as he teeters between acerbic and sentimental, scoffing at himself even as he grasps for redemption.” The New Yorker

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