In the tradition of Gabriel García Márquez and Maxine Hong Kingston, and deeply rooted in the intricacies of the author’s Japanese-Hawaiian heritage, Calabash Stories is a lucid, unforgettable collection. Jeffrey J. Higa’s stories arise from different points in the same fertile landscape: At times, the recurrence of certain details (a beige Volkswagen bug, a famous entertainer) makes them glow with deeper meaning at others, the reemergence of potent archetypes (a sick child, an old man living alone) invokes a dreamstate held between author and reader. Like the traditional Hawaiian calabash, these stories invite their reader to a family table where we are welcomed and nourished by communal traditions. Higa is a master storyteller, delighting in life’s humor and strangeness while arriving at the intimacy and poignancy that comes from a shared understanding of grief.
Praise for Calabash Stories
“Jeffrey Higa’s Calabash Stories is not only a delight to read, it is a fond remembrance of local culture and society that fostered us as we grew, with avidity or reluctance, into the globalized and metropolitan identities of postmodern times. To read this wonderful book is like gathering with elders at a family reunion, hearing their recollections as they confirm our common affections, calling up the items and events of former times, sharing anecdotal treasures and secrets we realize, just in their telling, are our true legacy. Higa’s writing flows beautifully from precise descriptions of Honolulu’s working class neighborhoods and its characters, through narratives both raucous and tender of childhood and receiving lessons from elders, to the spark of dialogues in pidgin, our common vernacular. The stories are loving, tributary, and priceless.”
—Garrett Hongo, author of Coral Road
“I am enchanted by Calabash Stories. There is so much humor and heartbreak and humanity in these stories—not to mention so much style and gravitas. I hope Jeffrey Higa will be writing us stories for many years to come—I, for one, will be rooting for him loudly.”
—CJ Hauser, Author of Family of Origin