The Descendants by Kaui Hemmings

79%

20 Critic Reviews

...her comic sense is finely honed in this refreshingly wry debut novel.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Now a major motion picture starring George Clooney and directed by Alexander Payne.

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.

Look for special features inside.
Join the Circle for author chats and more.
 

About Kaui Hemmings

See more books from this Author
Kaui Hart Hemmings is the author of the critically acclaimed short-story collection House of Thieves. Her work has been published in Zoetrope, Best American New Voices, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. Hemmings grew up in Hawaii and lives with her husband and daughter in San Francisco.
 
Published May 15, 2007 by Random House. 306 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bookmark Counts:
5
Want to Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Descendants
All: 20 | Positive: 17 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Joanna Kavenna on May 20 2007

...her comic sense is finely honed in this refreshingly wry debut novel.

Read Full Review of The Descendants | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Excellent
Jan 04 2008

This is a well-plotted, unexpectedly twisting saga which just about manages to avoid mawkishness and schmaltz.

Read Full Review of The Descendants | See more reviews from Guardian

Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Kristin Wilson on Jun 01 2012

The Descendants is a perfect balance of the grief of losing someone you love, learning to live in the presence, childhood innocence mixed with the desire to appear older, and humor in all the right places to remind us that life is both challenging and hilarious.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Emma Hagestadt on Jan 06 2012

An engaging comic debut about a middle-aged man's attempts to navigate a far from scenic route home.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Pajiba

Excellent
Reviewed by Rusty

Kaui Hart Hemmings manages to write a book that is personal and affecting without being overly sappy.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Bookslut

Excellent
Sep 01 2007

... she manages a compelling, serious story set in Hawaii without falling prey to schmaltzy descriptions of clueless tourists, cloudless skies, and smiling brown locals.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

KQED Arts

Excellent
Reviewed by Suzanne Kleid on Jun 19 2007

An impressive achievement, The Descendants is hopefully just the first in a long line of solid, enjoyable, smart yet beach-readable novels from Kaui Hart Hemmings.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Beth Fish Reads

Good
Feb 16 2012

The character studies, Hemmings's depiction of family and family dynamics, and Hawaii itself all draw you in and wrap around your brain.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Book Thingo

Good
Mar 16 2012

I enjoyed the flowing prose, the language and the way the characters unfolded and came into their own.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Seeing the World Through Books

Good
Reviewed by Mary Whipple on Nov 16 2011

The clear, often humorous presentation of events, the exceptionally realistic dialogue, and unique imagery give life to this strong debut novel...

Read Full Review of The Descendants

A Lot of Pages

Good
Mar 02 2012

Great writing, great prose and great conversations in this tragic tale.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Jayne's Books

Below average
Reviewed by Melissa on Jun 08 2012

I found it was a good, not a great book. Its the type of book that would be suitable for the beach or a long trip somewhere.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Jo-Jo Loves to Read

Good
Feb 08 2012

This was such a raw and emotional story that brings us along on the journey of Matt King as he prepares to say goodbye to his dying wife, Joanie.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Coffee, Books and Laundry

Below average
Jan 04 2012

I expected more character insight, instead getting bratty kids and a MC that somehow comes off spineless instead of capable.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Great Imaginations

Good
Reviewed by Kara on Nov 11 2011

What a fantastic read... One of my favorites of 2011.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Reading for Pleasure

Good

And in her understated style, Hemmings offers an irresistibly touching novel that teaches audiences about the mysteries of life and love.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

A Shelter for Words

Good
Reviewed by Raven Siker on May 24 2012

The story is honest, it’s raw and it’s very well written.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

The Quarter-Life Cat Lady

Good
Dec 20 2011

Hemmings wrote an amazing novel on her first try.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

5inabus

Good

It’s darkly humorous and deeply, deeply tragic.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Random Thoughts

Below average
Reviewed by Nikhi Menon

...this idyllic take on emotional awakening set in Hawaii offers nothing new.

Read Full Review of The Descendants

Reader Rating for The Descendants
76%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 810 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

CeAnn Workman

CeAnn Workman 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Wendy Daley

Wendy Daley 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Lara Tonin

Lara Tonin 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Ankush Gulati

Ankush Gulati 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Tamye Machina

Tamye Machina 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

×