In Review: “Dragonfruit” by: Malia Mattoch McManus

Once in a blue moon, a story reaches into the core of your being, and moves it with the sheer beauty of its truth, honesty, revelation, and lyricism. I have a list of about ten novels that have done exactly that in my life. “Dragonfruit” is such a story, and will remain in my heart forever.

I could not put this book down! The well-drawn characters utterly captivated me from page one. Having lived in Hawaii for a year, Maui to be exact, the lush imagery pops; I can literally smell her words at times, recalling the lands and the beautiful people I love. Although I have spent time on Oahu and Lanai, I have not yet been to Molokai, which is prominently featured in the first part of the story. I now feel like part of my heart is there, and I HAVE to return to pay a visit.

Pitaya, as the Hawaiians call dragonfruit, is a most intriguing fruit. The color is gorgeous, and the shape not unlike fire straight from a dragon’s mouth. The taste is earthy, sightly sweet, and as a whole, mesmerizing; an appropriate title for this epic. The historical punch is particularly relevant, and makes me ache for all that has occurred to beautiful Hawaii, particularly at the turn of the last century. The plot is moving, suspenseful, heartbreaking, and glorious; the relationships rich and compelling! I cannot stop thinking about each character and wondering about their lives and circumstances, replaying (and re-reading) my favorite scenes. The flawless interweaving of Hawaiian legends and culture with poignant historical details will wreck you in all the right ways.

This HAS to be made into a movie, and I HAVE to play the role of Eliza (or at the very least be considered). It has Oscar potential, in my humble opinion. Choice for director is Ang Lee, and choice for soundtrack is John Williams.

I highly recommend this beautiful work of fiction, you will stay under its spell for weeks. Pick up a copy for yourself here.