Every Drop is a Man's Nightmare (Hardcover)
From major new storytelling talent Megan Kamalei Kakimoto, a blazing, bodily, raucous journey through contemporary Hawaiian identity and womanhood.
"A knockout. Eleven knockouts, one KO for every story."-Elizabeth McCracken
"A stunning debut."-Laura van den Berg
"Throbs with searing talent."-Kali Fajardo-Anstine
"As exquisite as it is terrifying."-Jenny Tinghui Zhang
Megan Kamalei Kakimoto's wrenching and sensational debut story collection follows a cast of mixed native Hawaiian and Japanese women through a contemporary landscape thick with inherited wisdom and the ghosts of colonization. This is a Hawai'i where unruly sexuality and generational memory overflow the postcard image of paradise and the boundaries of the real, where the superstitions born of the islands take on the weight of truth.
A childhood encounter with a wild pua'a (pig) on the haunted Pali highway portends one young woman's fraught relationship with her pregnant body. An elderly widow begins seeing her deceased lover in a giant flower. A kanaka writer, mid-manuscript, feels her raw pages quaking and knocking in the briefcase.
Every Drop Is a Man's Nightmare is both a fierce love letter to Hawaiian identity and mythology, and a searing dispatch from an occupied territory threatening to erupt with violent secrets.
About the Author
Megan Kamalei Kakimoto is a Japanese and Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiian) writer from Honolulu, Hawai'i. Her fiction has been featured in Granta, Conjunctions, Joyland, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature and has received support from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers, where she was a Fiction Fellow. She lives in Honolulu.
“Kakimoto interweaves themes of sexual desire and fertility with Hawaiian mythology in her unflinching debut collection . . . Marked by a wry sense of humor and an unerring touch for the surreal, Kakimoto's stories add up to a powerful exploration of gender, class, race, colonialism, and domestic violence. This eloquent outing marks Kakimoto as a writer to watch.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A gorgeous collection that contemplates ideas of womanhood, Hawaiian culture and identity, and how history shapes the present.” —Book Riot
“In EVERY DROP IS A MAN'S NIGHTMARE, the enormously talented Megan Kakimoto gives us her Hawai'i, as bright as blood, as dark as blood: full of muscle and bone, sex, the body, corpse flowers, Night Marchers, the occasional Elvis impersonator. It's a book about beauty and brutality, love and threat, home and estrangement, as original and fearless a book as I've read in years. It does not pull its punches; it's altogether a knockout. Eleven knockouts, one KO for every story.” —Elizabeth McCracken, author of THE SOUVENIR MUSEUM
“Megan Kamelei Kakimoto's collection blooms with opulent and tender language. She weaves an intimate and expansive worldview of Hawai?i as sacred, abundant, and thoroughly alive with ancestral stories. Kakimoto is one of Hawai?i's most brilliant new voices. The power of her monumental debut will reverberate across generations past and those yet to come.” —Joseph Han, author of NUCLEAR FAMILY
“Lyrical collisions of superstition, folktales, and modern Hawaiian culture saving itself in the face of cliches. Desire and confusion are rarely far apart in these powerful coming-of-age stories that prove 'it is possible to be many things, all the time, all at once.” —Amy Hempel, author of THE COLLECTED STORIES and SING TO IT
“Megan Kakimoto is an extraordinary writer-compassionate, insightful, fiercely funny and super-smart-and Every Drop Is a Man's Nightmare thrums with intelligence, wisdom and wild originality. A tremendous debut by a writer who, lucky for us, has only just begun.” —Molly Antopol, author of THE UNAMERICANS
“A writer receives a stern warning from a familial spirit. A widow forms a relationship with a corpse flower. A flailing mother copes by telling her son tales about The Madwoman in the Sea. Kakimoto's bold and haunting stories are brilliant on the mysterious and potent languages of the body, and on the enduring power of the stories that shape us. EVERY DROP IS A MAN'S NIGHTMARE is a stunning debut.” —Laura van den Berg, author of I HOLD A WOLF BY THE EARS and THE THIRD HOTEL
“EVERY DROP IS A MAN'S NIGHTMARE is a sensory and visceral exploration of womanhood and Hawaiian culture, both ancient and new. In a collection where history and the present touch, the prose reads as if each sentence is reaching into turquoise waters and pulling out glimmering shells of truth. Megan Kamalei Kakimoto's debut throbs with searing talent.” —Kali Fajardo-Anstine, author of WOMAN OF LIGHT and SABRINA & CORINA
“Megan Kakimoto is one of those rare writers who has mastered both story and sentence. 'The Love and Decline of the Corpse Flower'-thick with grief, desire, and magic-teems with deft lyricism and poetic attention. The women in this story are audacious, resilient, and unforgettable-they have my whole heart.” —Kimberly King Parsons, author of BLACK LIGHT
“Told with sharp, lurid prose, Megan Kamalei Kakimoto's stories of kanaka women put female agency, rage, and horror at the forefront, deftly interrogating the ways in which identity and inheritance can both haunt and liberate. An extraordinary debut collection that is as exquisite as it is terrifying.” —Jenny Tinghui Zhang, author of FOUR TREASURES OF THE SKY
“These nervy, original stories are flat-out wonderful-a stellar debut.” —Hilma Wolitzer, author of TODAY A WOMAN WENT MAD IN THE SUPERMARKET
“In EVERY DROP IS A MAN'S NIGHTMARE, Megan Kamalei Kakimoto explores with visceral precision the pains and the joys of the body. Shame and grief intermingle with tenderness and desire in these multilayered stories. This is an innovative, spectacular debut.” —Helen Phillips, author of THE NEED
“In lush, gorgeous prose that startles and stirs, Kakimoto weaves eleven visceral and surreal stories about the body and desire, blood and inheritance, Hawaiian mythology and identity. A wholly original debut, EVERY DROP IS A MAN'S NIGHTMARE is everything I want in a collection: daring, big-hearted, electric, lyrical, and utterly unforgettable. In the opening story, a mother asks her daughter, 'My baby honey girl, don't you want to live?' This book is a resounding yes, all the fierce and relentless ways that these girls and women fight to live-and the ways they keep each other alive. We are lucky to live in the time of Megan Kamalei Kakimoto.” —Marisa Crane, author of I KEEP MY EXOSKELETONS TO MYSELF