“Overflowing with female sexuality and Hawaiian mythology, Every Drop is a Man’s Nightmare punches out one fearless story after the next. Kakimoto gives us a raw Hawai'i, one that exists far from the colonized romanticism often promoted.”
— Beth Shapiro, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO
USA Today Bestseller
“Rich and wise, humming with confidence.” —New York Times Book Review
“A knockout. Eleven knockouts. One KO for every story.”—Elizabeth McCracken
“Every Drop Is a Man’s Nightmare is a frontrunner for Book of the Year.” —Debutiful
From major new storytelling talent Megan Kamalei Kakimoto, a blazing, bodily, raucous journey through contemporary Hawaiian identity and womanhood.
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.
"The contemporary Hawaii of Kakimoto’s debut is neither idyllic backdrop nor tragic fable; the stories evoke the land and its intermixing cultures in all their anxiety, claustrophobia and restlessness . . . Weaving Hawaiian words into English ones, Kakimoto positions language as a tether to our most ancient and eternal selves . . . Every Drop Is a Man’s Nightmare is rich and wise, humming with confidence in the knowledge of a particular community’s lovely, miserable ways." - The New York Times Book Review
"It would be fitting but too simple to call this collection haunting. The stories in Megan Kamalei Kakimoto’s Every Drop Is a Man’s Nightmare are so lavishly imagined, and their characters—from young women to mythical beings to watchful ancestors and even Hawaii itself—are so defiant, that to offer any solid definitions seems like a betrayal of the book’s ethics. Here, boundaries between the past and present, the living and the dead, are not so much flimsy as nonexistent . . . Even after one closes the book, the power of these stories remains." —Washington Independent Review of Books
“Megan Kamalei Kakimoto is a short story writer that all other short story writers should study. She has the ability to captivate readers with a single sentence. Her prose bursts with exquisite confidence that makes it hard to believe this is a debut collection. Every Drop is a frontrunner for Book of the Year.” —Debutiful
“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
“All things weird, wonderful, mysterious, and mythical collide in this excellent debut story collection. Focused on mixed native Hawaiian and Japanese women and ensconced in Hawaiian history and lore, each story explores what it means to be a woman, but especially a woman of color . . . This great book signals the arrival of a very talented writer.” —Booklist, starred review
“A gorgeous collection that contemplates ideas of womanhood, Hawaiian culture and identity, and how history shapes the present.” —Book Riot
"These lightly speculative stories about girls and women in Hawaii are immersive and haunting in all the best ways, and they’ll stick with you after reading it just as much as the gorgeous cover." - Book Riot, The Best Book Covers of 2023
“Absorbing . . . Magical events illuminate the all-too-real problems of Hawaiian women in an impressive story collection.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The collection's visceral stories chronicle intense moments in the lives of Hawaiian girls and women dealing with adolescence, body image issues, mental health, and motherhood . . . The tales unfold within a landscape of deeply held traditions, myths, and superstitions from multiple cultures.” —Publishers Weekly, Writers to Watch Fall 2023
“Kakimoto's debut collection tells 11 stories of contemporary Hawaiian identity, mythology, and womanhood. Unruly sexuality, generational memory, and the ghosts of colonization collide in what promises to be an auspicious short-fiction debut.” —The Millions, Most Anticipated
“The world desperately needs more Hawaiian voices in literature (and everywhere!), and Megan Kamalei Kakimoto's debut collection is a brave and atmospheric addition. Reflective and bold, the stories take on the violence of colonization while celebrating Hawaiian identity and womanhood.” —Ms. Magazine
“This debut story collection, set in contemporary Hawai'i, is both a luscious ode to native Hawaiian women and a ferocious report from an occupied territory full of tension and rage.” —Bustle
“I love every story in Megan Kamalei Kakimoto's spectacular debut, Every Drop Is a Man's Nightmare. It's one of those rare and exhilarating collections where each of the eleven stories is a stand-alone gem, but, read as a whole, builds an immersive and unforgettable world-a contemporary portrait of an ever-changing Hawaii.” —Molly Antopol, Electric Literature
"Reading it, I found stories of Native Hawaiian and Japanese women who struggle with their loved ones, their identity, even their own bodies. Stories filled with magical images, and even ghosts. It’s a hypnotic, occasionally disturbing, and beautifully written read." - Deepa Fernandes, NPR's "Here and Now"
"Kakimoto’s collection reads like a glass of water filled to the brim . . . An obvious master of the sentence . . . Her lines cross time and space, building an entire world in just a few moments . . . Always, the question of what it means to live as a Native Hawaiian woman in an illegally occupied territory roils beneath the surface of Kakimoto’s stories . . . With this debut collection, Kakimoto makes herself a household name not just when it comes to the literature of Hawai'i, but proves herself to be one of the best short story writers writing right now." —The Common
"Modernity and mythology collide in this haunting and entrancing story collection by an exciting new voice in fiction." —The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Kakimoto doesn’t shy away from anything: instead, she plunges into the uncomfortable. Her storytelling exposes the subtle and overt consequences of colonialism on Native Hawaiians, examines the intersectionality of womanhood for women of color and reminds us how actions of the past haunt the present." —Good Times
"Kakimoto has written a singular collection of diverse stories illustrating the lives of Hawaiian women and girls of different backgrounds. These tales are speculative and occasionally grotesque, including graphic descriptions of bodily functions and mythical creatures emerging from dark crevices, but always sympathetic toward the characters…This collection is a beautifully written and insightful look at what it means to be a Hawaiian local, with an emphasis on the female experience." - Niv Magazine
“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