Talk Story: Three Tales of Hawai’i
Author: Paul G. Bens, Jr.
Characters: Toshi, Kristopher (Kili), and Ka’eo,
POV: 1st person/multiple narrators
Genre: M/M Short Story Compilation
Cover Rating: 3
A Christmastime erotic journey through the streets of Waikiki…Life-long friends share an unexpected New Year’s Eve…and the last Halloween between boyhood friends. Award-winning author Paul G. Bens, Jr. takes us on a trip through the Hawaiian Islands in this trio of short stories featuring the acclaimed erotic novella “Mahape a ale Wala’au.” So, pull up a chair and let’s Talk Story.
Talk Story: Three Tales of Hawai’i is a book that truly defies genre—part loving tribute to the people and legends of Hawaii, part erotic quest, and part coming-of-age story—this compilation of short stories exceeded my expectations in every way. Anyone who has been fortunate enough to read Kelland will know that Paul G. Bens Jr. is an accomplished storyteller; that was never in question. What did surprise me was how effectively I was drawn into the tales, into the atmosphere of a state rich in history and folklore that was once ruled by kings and queens, and how completely I was charmed by a nearly instantaneous fellowship with the book’s narrators.
One character weaves through each tale: Kilokopela, also known by his Christian name Kristopher, serves as a first person narrator, as well as a participant in stories told by Toshi, a tourist seduced by Kristopher’s beauty, and by Ka’eo, Kristopher’s best friend.
From the sensual journey of a man on holiday in Waikiki to the poignancy of unrequited love between life-long friends, this book is a round trip tour through the islands, as well as an exploration of the emotions evoked by the book’s themes. Toshi is a man who wishes to be something more and becomes so when the spirit of the islands seduces him; Ka’eo is a boy who comes of age and realizes that his friend is in love with him, but acknowledges that he will never be able to return that love; Kili (Kristopher) is the man who sometimes wishes to be nothing more and is who threads their stories together.
Talk Story: Three Tales of Hawai’i often feels like a glimpse into a private journal filled with thoughts and confessions and emotions of a deeply personal nature. The credit for that goes to the author’s absorbing prose and vivid imagery. For those who have never been to the island state, and for those who have, this book will make the reader wish s/he were there.
Finding Talk Story: Three Tales of Hawai’i is like stumbling upon an exotic and isolated stretch of beach: unexpected, beautiful, and an enriching experience.
Reviewed By: Lisa