Friday, February 17, 2023

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn


Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn is a novel that had been on my reading wishlist until recently. I recall learning that Sharks in the Time of Saviors was one of Barack Obama's favorite novels in 2020. The title of this magical realism novel was catchy enough to capture my attention initially and the plot sounded captivating. So with that said, it was an easy decision to add Sharks in the Time of Saviors by to my ever growing reading wishlist.

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn. The audio version is narrated by four different narrators, which I thought was great as each narrator brought their own voice to the character they read for in the novel.

I really liked Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn. The storyline was well laid out, the characters strong and distinct, and each chapter featured a point of view of one of the main characters... However, we only hear from Augie Flores' (the father) point of view in the last chapter... Whereas the rest of the chapters are told from the points of view of the other immediate family members.

Below is the plot summary for Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn from Chirp's website:

Sharks in the Time of Saviors is a groundbreaking debut novel that folds the legends of Hawaiian gods into an engrossing family saga; a story of exile and the pursuit of salvation from Kawai Strong Washburn. In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, 7-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends. Nainoa’s family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods - a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart: Nainoa, working now as a paramedic on the streets of Portland, struggles to fathom the full measure of his expanding abilities; further north in Washington, his older brother Dean hurtles into the world of elite college athletics, obsessed with wealth and fame; while in California, risk-obsessed younger sister Kaui navigates an unforgiving academic workload in an attempt to forge her independence from the family’s legacy. When supernatural events revisit the Flores family in Hawaii - with tragic consequences - they are all forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.

I am giving Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!


  1. I am intrigued and am adding this one to my list of "want to reads."