The island of Niihau is an idyllic place, without phones, electricity, or any modern conveniences. The Hawaiians who live there like their simple life; except for regular visits by the island’s owner, the eccentric white man, Mr. Robinson, there is no contact with the outside world. But this changes when, on December 7, 1941, an unidentified plane crashes onto this remote island. Unbeknownst to the islanders, the downed plane is a Japanese Zero; the pilot, who survives the landing, has just strafed Pearl Harbor. Only the Haradas, a Japanese-American couple who also live on the island, understand immediately that the United States is at war with Japan. As the pilot tries to enlist the Haradas help, and the Niihauans wonder why Robinson has not appeared for his regular visit from nearby Kauai, the once peaceful island begins to implode.
In the tradition of Snow Falling on Cedars comes this provocative and compelling debut novel of innocence, identity, loyalty, and betrayal set on a small isolated Hawaiian island in December 1941 -- based on true events.
"Paul's graceful, objective tone may be the book's greatest strength ... It is a testament to her ability as a writer that the novel's most captivating creation, Niihau itself, is the pure product of her imagination. When it's over, we don't want to leave." -- THE NEW YORK TIMES
"There are any number of aspiring novelists out there -- including many who have contacted this newspaper over the years -- convinced that a retelling of the notorious "Niihau Incident" would be their breakthrough. The only way to do the story justice, they claimed, would be through fiction, because it is such a rich tale, full of mystery and intrigue and danger, and the weighty dust of a straight history would tamp out all the juicy bits. Well! Finally, we have such a novel, by author Caroline Paul, a splendid little book that hews closely to the known facts of the case, and is already causing a cracking buzz in book sales." -- THE STAR BULLETIN
"You can knock this book off in a night if you're a quick reader, but don't do it. Savor the description. Notice the details. Feel the feelings. Think about the issues. They're still with us." -- THE HONOLULU ADVERTISER
A compelling psychological drama. -- THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
A debut novel that tackles the complex issue of national allegiance … East Wind, Rain, which is based on an actual event, rarely disappoints. -– ASSOCIATED PRESS
Authentic and dramatic ... A big war comes to a small place, making its effect more effective. -- Booklist