The stories of life for the Hawai‘i communities in 1940s and ’50s outside of the plantations are the focus of local author Kaui Philpotts' newest book, Cane Fires.
“There were many people living in the islands before statehood who were neither plantation owners nor field laborers,” she explains. “They were the accountants, doctors, school teachers and shopkeepers whose life experiences should also take a place on the shelf.”
The endearing collection of short fiction is not only a departure from the usual Hawai‘i fiction found on bookshelves; it's a writing departure for Philpotts herself. Her previous tomes include non-fiction works Hawaiian Country Tables, Party Hawaii and Hawaii: A Sense of Place (co-authored with Mary Philpotts McGrath).
The stories in Cane Fires are inspired by Philpotts' childhood— she began working on them in her fiction writers group—and focus on one particular fictional hapa-haole (mixed-race) family.