The Descendants (2007) It's a daunting task to convey the emotional mess that accompanies the death of a loved one, but Kaui Hart Hemmings' The Descendants captures both… 2007-05-15 Fiction Random House
Book Review

The Descendants (2007)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: May 15, 2007; Writer: Kaui Hart Hemmings; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Random House

It's a daunting task to convey the emotional mess that accompanies the death of a loved one, but Kaui Hart Hemmings' The Descendants captures both the intense sorrow and scattershot moments of levity. Matthew King is a wealthy Hawaiian land-owner keeping vigil over his comatose wife along with his two daughters, one a pathological liar and the other a delinquent. As he begins to face what a faulty father and husband he's been, King bumbles toward a kind of redemption. The characters aren't very likable — even the narcissistic, dying wife isn't granted a free pass — but their all-too-human flaws lend the novel the sharp resonance of truth.

Originally posted May 18, 2007 Published in issue #935 May 25, 2007 Order article reprints