Every Drop Is a Man's Nightmare
Megan Kamalei Kakimoto
In Hawaii, a cast of women reckon with physical and emotional alienation, and the toll it takes on their psyches. A childhood encounter with a wild pua’a (boar) on the haunted Pali highway portends one woman’s increasingly fraught relationship with her body during pregnancy. A woman recalls an uncanny experience, in which Elvis impersonators take centre stage, to an acquaintance who doesn’t yet know just how intimately they’re connected. An elderly widow begins seeing her deceased lover in the giant corpse flower a mourner has gifted her.
Centering native Hawaiian identity, and how it unfolds in the lives, mind and bodies of kanaka women, the stories in Kakimoto’s debut collection are speculative and uncanny, exploring themes of queerness, colonization and desire. Both a fierce love letter to mixed native Hawaiian and Japanese women and a searing dispatch from an occupied territory simmering with tension, Every Drop is a Man’s Nightmare takes seriously the superstitions born of the islands. Kakimoto’s characters seek pleasure and purpose even in absurd circumstances, often with a surprising sense of humor, and her stories treat Hawai’i as so much more than a postcard from paradise.