With roots firmly in the oral storytelling tradition, Kimo Armitage's The Healers
weaves multiple narrators and time periods into a novel of remarkable breadth, giving insight into Hawaiian culture where nature, man, and the spirit world coexist seamlessly. Echoing the voices of long ago, the book celebrates the connection to stories of Hawaii as once told by grandparents and great-grandparents. In the world of The Healers,
family and place are revered and aloha is heartfelt.
Cousins Keola and Pua, chosen as the next generation of healers by their family, initially have an idyllic life as respected apprentice healers. Their days are spent training with their grandmother, investigating the healing properties of plants, and treating ailments of community and family members. Troubling dreams, however, foreshadow a sea change to come. One day, Pua meets and is immediately attracted to Tiki, a descendant of a powerful healing family from Tahiti, who has been mysteriously abandoned by his parents. Months later, Keola is sent across the island to train with Laka, the family's most knowledgeable healer, who was born with no arms or legs. A life-threatening challenge awaits this close-knit unit, and they must call upon generations of ancestral knowledge and skill to save those that stand at the precipice of death.
This compelling novel fills a gap in the Hawaiian literary canon of works for young adult readers.
A Latitude 20 Book
Sponsored by Fat Ulu
"Experiencing Armitage's The Healers
is like peeling away the layers of husk of a kukui nut. With each layer of skin that is pulled away, a story of light and oneness is revealed. " —Lisa Linn Kanae, author of Islands Linked by Ocean
"Prose, spirit, poem, warrior. A profound addition to Hawai'i literature—Armitage lets loose the healing powers of ancestral memory and weaves it into the contemporary. Most importantly, he awakens vision and courage for a future that requires both." —Tiare Picard, University of Hawai'i at West O'ahu
"This island story of a seemingly faraway place, of 'aumākua and akua, is of our home and will remind us of where we are from. It's a must-read for those interested in understanding Hawai'i and the literature of Oceania." —Michael Puleloa, Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama
“Armitage writes with an elegant narrative style that celebrates the rhythm and syntax of Hawaiian chants and myths. . . . A vibrant portrayal of the Native Hawaiian mythos in the past, present, and hopeful future, The Healers
shows us that the bonds of ohana can cross time and space and that our ties to the land and one another are eternal.” —Honolulu Star-Advertiser