Quick Review–Under Maui Skies and Other Stories

Under Maui Skies and Other Stories by Wayne Moniz
ISBN 978-0-9821656-3-8
Koa Books
Kihei, Maui, HI

When I was on vacation in Hawaii on Maui not too long ago, I had the chance to go to some bookstores and look in the “Hawaiiana” sections for some local books, both fiction and non-fiction. Besides some magazines, I came away with a book of short stories written by a native of Maui entitled Under Maui Skies and Other Stories. The author is a high school/college teacher named Wayne Moniz. I thought a book of short stories would be good because it would give me a variety of different tales about the island. Huge leather-bound books of Hawaiian literature were on the shelves, but I was glad I chose this purple and orange paperback book because Mr. Moniz wrote seven very different short stories, each reflecting a genre of fiction. For example, “Under Maui Skies” is a tale of a drug dealer, mixed in with the cowboy culture of up-country Maui. “The Cave of Whispering Spirits” is about the last volcanic eruption on the island from the viewpoint of some natives. “The Cruel Sun” tells of the clash of cultures between Hawaiians and westerners in missionary times. The book also contains a detective, war, science fiction, and a ghost story. After the short stories, Mr. Moniz inserted notes on the short stories telling about some of the characters and tales and how some of them are based on real stories and real people. Besides the seven stories, there are a number of poems included, the main theme of most of the poems being one of the beautiful flowers or trees that grow on the island and in the valleys. After each poem is a short sentence or two about the particular flower, tree, or place. Two short glossaries are also included at the end of the book—one is for Hawaiian words and the other is for place names. Many Hawaiian words and places are peppered throughout the stories and poems and these glossaries were very helpful in that regard. Following is an excerpt from one of the beautiful poems by Mr. Moniz:

– from “The Ten-Cent Flower” or “Ka Puakenikeni Nui

Three periods of a short but colorful life:

First day—white—the white
Of billowy clouds over Pu’u Kukui
Second day—yellow—
The yellow of the dawn of Haleakalā
Third day—orange—
Like the orange sunset off Lahaina

If you have ever visited or want to visit Maui, Mr. Moniz’s book gives readers a nice snapshot of the culture and history of the island.

  1 comment for “Quick Review–Under Maui Skies and Other Stories

  1. March 25, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    UNDER MAUI SKIES AND OTHER STORIES (Koa Books) is one of the finalists in the Honolulu Advertiser online polling for HAWAII BOOK OF THE YEAR. The San Francisco Chronicle calls Under Maui Skies “one of the most engaging works of fiction to come out of Hawai’i in a long while.” I hope you’ll consider voting online for this title.

    To vote, go to surveymonkey.com/s/33YQX5P — Under Maui Skies is book #65.

    And spread the word!

    Thank you,
    Arnie Kotler
    Koa Books

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