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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "Honolulu" by Alan Brennert

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"Honolulu" by Alan Brennert

  1. **The novel is set in early 20th-century Hawaii. How does the historical and cultural context of the time shape the characters and their experiences?

  2. **Discuss the character of Jin, the protagonist. How does her journey as a picture bride reflect the challenges and opportunities faced by immigrant women during that era?

  3. **The novel addresses themes of cultural identity and assimilation. How do characters in "Honolulu" grapple with their Korean heritage while adapting to the diverse culture of Hawaii?

  4. **Explore the portrayal of the immigrant experience in the novel. What are the common challenges faced by Jin and other immigrants, and how do they overcome or navigate these challenges?

  5. **The book depicts the multicultural society of Hawaii. How does the melting pot of cultures contribute to the richness of the narrative, and how do characters from different backgrounds interact?

  6. **Discuss the role of women in "Honolulu." How do female characters navigate societal expectations and gender roles during a time when opportunities for women were limited?

  7. **Jin's experiences include working as a "picture bride" and later pursuing education and a career. How do these aspects of her life contribute to the broader theme of female empowerment in the novel?

  8. **Family is a central theme in the book. How do family dynamics and relationships evolve throughout the story, and how do characters navigate the balance between tradition and individual aspirations?

  9. **The novel also explores the impact of historical events, such as World War II and the Japanese occupation of Korea, on the characters' lives. How do these events shape the narrative and influence the characters' choices?

  10. **Consider the significance of the title, "Honolulu." How does the setting play a role in the story, and how does the city itself shape the characters and their experiences?

  11. **"Honolulu" touches on issues of discrimination and prejudice. How do characters respond to these challenges, and what messages about tolerance and acceptance does the novel convey?

  12. **Reflect on the ending of the novel. How does Jin's journey come full circle, and what messages or themes are conveyed in the resolution of her story?

Early Life:

  • Alan Brennert was born on May 30, 1954, in Englewood, New Jersey, USA.


  • He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with honors from California State University, Long Beach.

Writing Career:

  • Alan Brennert has had a diverse career as a writer, with contributions to literature, television, and film.
  • He initially gained recognition for his work in television, with writing credits on popular shows such as "L.A. Law," "The Twilight Zone," and "Fantasy Island."
  • Brennert's novel "Moloka'i" (2003) brought him critical acclaim and commercial success. The historical novel tells the story of a young Hawaiian girl diagnosed with leprosy and exiled to the island of Moloka'i.
  • "Honolulu" (2009) is another well-received novel by Brennert, exploring the life of a Korean picture bride in early 20th-century Hawaii.
  • His works often incorporate historical elements and cultural themes, reflecting his interest in exploring diverse human experiences.

Awards and Recognition:

  • "Moloka'i" received numerous awards and nominations, including the Bookies Award for Book of the Year and the Book Sense Book of the Year Award.
  • Brennert's writing is known for its emotional depth, historical accuracy, and exploration of cultural and social issues.

Other Works:

  • In addition to his novels, Brennert has written short stories and contributed to anthologies.
  • He has continued his involvement in television, serving as a writer and producer on various projects.

Personal Life:

  • Information about Alan Brennert's personal life, beyond his professional accomplishments, is not extensively available in public sources.


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