2021 PEN/Hemingway Award Winner

Kawai Strong Washburn, Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel (MCD)

From the judges’ citation:

“Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors is a precisely observed, deeply humane novel that marries mythology, social and filial folklore, and the visceral realities of a single Hawaiian family teetering between poverty and comfort, disconnection and profound kinship. Washburn’s depictions are wide-ranging yet precise—he writes with equal beauty about gods and basketball, climbing and chemistry, imprisonment and desire. At the center is the luminous exploration of a family’s halting attempts to reconnect with a spirituality lost gradually over time. Sharks in the Time of Saviors offers its reader the unforgettable experience of discovering wonder on the page, both in its careful attention to detail, and also in the way that detail recasts our own reality. The novel reminds its readers that exile is not always geographical, but is, as often, a territory of the mind.”