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East Wind, Rain
A Book About Niihau and Pearl Harbor

Carolyn Paul's novel is historic fiction based on a little known true event. It is the story of a Japanese pilot who, during the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, crash lands on the tiny isolated Hawaiian island of Niihau, where the residents have no idea what has been happening in the outside world. The only people who can understand the pilot's account of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are a husband and wife who are Niihau's only Japanese residents. They are reluctant to share their knowledge the with other Niihau residents because they fear enflaming local prejudices against the Japanese. They are torn between that emotion and their loyalty to the United States.

East Wind Rain by Carolyn Paul
Buy It at Amazon.com

TITLE: East Wind, Rain
AUTHOR: Carolyn Paul
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
DATE PUBLISHED: April 25, 2006
DIMENSIONS: 8.3 x 6.0 x 1.1 inches
Available at Amazon.com

Publisher's Book Description

Off the lush coast of Kauai sits the almost unknown island of Niihau. Its inhabitants -- mostly Hawaiian natives -- lead a quiet, simple life. They work the ranch of the island's owner, Aylmer Robinson, an eccentric haole who insists that Niihau remain isolated from the outside world; no phones, cars, electricity, or other conveniences are allowed. According to Robinson's Christian view, his people must be protected from modern evils, and his island haven kept as pure as Eden before the Fall.

Then a plane crash-lands on Niihau. The Hawaiians have no idea that it's a Japanese Zero, and that the pilot -- who survives the landing -- has just taken part in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Concerned primarily with the fact that visitors aren't allowed, Niihau's residents await Mr. Robinson's monthly visit from Kauai. But unknown to them, the outside world is now at war.

Only the island's one Japanese-American couple, Irene and Yoshio Harada, realize the significance of the downed soldier. Convinced that Japan has successfully invaded the United States, and pressured by the desperate pilot, the Haradas face a growing dilemma. Are they loyal to America, their country, but one that has bruised them with prejudice? Or should they help the pilot, betraying their Hawaiian neighbors but saving themselves? As the Zero smolders in the Niihauan soil, and the Niihauans slowly figure out that the modern world has encroached on their remote island whether they like it or not, the Haradas see cracks in their own shaky marriage beginning to widen. Paradise, once within reach, slowly falls victim to its own isolated innocence.

Based on a little-known true event, East Wind, Rain is a provocative and compelling debut novel of people thrust unwittingly into a war -- not only of nations, but of American identity -- with devastating and irrevocable consequences for them all.

Reviews of "East Wind, Rain"

From Publisher's Weekly:
"In the wake of Pearl Harbor, an isolated Hawaiian community realizes new fears and questions old loyalties in this novel based on actual events. A lone fighter plane plummets into the secluded island of Niihau, owned by white American Alymer Robinson, on December 7, 1941. Howard Kaleohano, the village elder, spots the downed aircraft and urges its Japanese pilot, Nishikaichi, out of the cockpit. Since the villagers don't have radios and haven't heard of the bombing (or even the war), they don't know what to make of Nishikaichi. Howard decides they should simply wait for Robinson, the island's owner, to arrive. When he doesn't show, Robinson's beekeeper, Yoshio Harada, and Harada's wife, Irene, both Japanese-Americans, are the only islanders who can understand Nishikaichi's account of Pearl Harbor and his own mission, as well as his plans: he's not significantly injured, and intends to destroy his plane and the papers he carried with him. As the young couple wrestles with a sense of U.S. patriotism that has been wounded by past encounters with prejudice, suspicions overwhelm a once peaceful community. Paul (whose twin sister is Baywatch star Alexandra Paul) wrote a memoir, Fighting Fire, about her time as a San Francisco firefighter; her debut novel moves slowly, but with a lyricism that contributes to her characters' development. It's a promising performance."

From Booklist:
"Obviously, the primary "purpose" of the historical novel is to transport readers from the here and now to another time and place. No fault can be found in that regard with the author of this historical novel, a first novel as well; the transport is successful: authentic and dramatic. The Japanese air force has just attacked the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor, electrifying the world. On a far more local level, the small, remote Hawaiian island of Niihau is owned and operated like a private fiefdom by a man named Mr. Robinson, who lives off-island and visits regularly but doesn't want his peaceful islanders disturbed by outside news. A Japanese pilot crash-lands on the island, and the only Japanese-speaking residents, a husband and wife, also keep quiet about the horrible attack; their motive is to avoid any kind of persecution for being the only island residents of Japanese heritage. A big war comes to a small place, making its effect even more . . . effective."

See also:
- More About the Island of Niihau
- More About Pearl Harbor

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