I read this book before and during our honeymoon in Hawaii. The scope and style of the book reminded me a bit of Isabel Allende's novel The House of the Spirits, that I'd read earlier this year in Patagonia. Both are sweeping multi-generational sagas that focus on the women in a prominent family. Both use the facts of the history of a nation as the plot points that carry the stories forward. Both incorporate magical realism, bestowed mostly upon the matriarch of the house. Davenport's main character swims with sharks - transforms herself into a shark and communes with the nature and history of Hawaii.
Reading this book was great for an overview of the history of Hawaii, and for a narrator who tells it through the perspective of locals. Davenport's language is very florid, at times verging on Joycean modernist, with sweeping sentences full of breathless imagery that go on for several pages without punctuation. She does this, particularly, when she writes about sex - which is often in this book. At first, it is a surprise, a pleasure and a surprise. But after you get a sense of her pattern (sex and description, imagery, no punctuation), after the third or fourth time, it starts to feel a bit trite.
Nonetheless, an enjoyable read, and a great fictionalized account of Hawaii's troubled history.