The Descendants

8 ratings 4 stars

Narrated in a fearless voice full of bold hilarity and set against the lush, panoramic backdrop of Hawaii, The Descendants is a stunning debut novel about an unconventional family forced to come together and re-create its own legacy.

The Descendants, Kaui Hart Hemmings

A descendant of one of Hawaii's largest landowners, Matthew King finds his luck has changed. His two daughters - Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old, and Alex, a teenage recovering drug addict - are out of control; his thrill-seeking, high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident and will soon be taken off life support. Suddenly the King family must come to terms with this tragedy - and with the shameful sense of freedom that comes with it. As Matt gathers Joanie's friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation is made worse by the discovery that one person hasn't been told - the man with whom Joanie has been having an affair. Forced to examine what he owes not only to the living but also to the dead, Matt takes to the road with his daughters to find his wife's lover on a memorable journey of painful revelations and unforeseen humour.

Available Formats

  • Paperback
    $19.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9780099570240
    Published: 01/01/2012
    Imprint: Vintage
    Extent: 304 pages
  • eBook
    ISBN: 9781407015712
    Published: 01/09/2010
    Imprint: Vintage Digital
    Extent: 304 pages
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"Shockingly irreverent and funny while exerting that all-important emotional tug... A well-plotted, unexpectedly twisting saga" - Guardian

"Kaui Hart Hemmings' assured touch and her fine grasp of the absurd ensures that this novel steers a deliciously scenic route between heartbreak and hilarity" - Daily Mail

"An assured and subtle writer. The islands rise lush and untamed in the background" - Observer

"A darkly funny debut...a sharp story of emotional and sexual awakening in idyllic Hawaii" - Metro

"Utterly original and absolutely compelling...a fantastic first novel" - Geoff Dyer

"An unsentimental tragicomedy, whose somewhat hopeless male protagonist is so believable that it's a surprise to discover his creator is young, female and only on her first novel.'" - Dazed and Confused

"Hemmings' quirkily assured touch, her grasp of the absurd and the lush Hawaiian setting ensures this novel's balance between heartbreak and hilarity" - Marie Claire

"Full of dark humour and astute observations, this is a deftly written rumination on the meaning of family and ancestry" - Big Issue

"A panoramic tragicomedy about the transience of life...a sensitive, unsentimental vision that is often peppered with comic barbs...treads the fragile thread between heartbreak and humour, announcing Kaui Hart Hemmings as a writer of prodigious gifts" - Time Out

"Gripping and funny... A brave and intelligent novel" - Sunday Telegraph