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Menlo Common Book

Sharks in the Time of Saviors

Sharks in the Time of Saviors
: In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends. Nainoa's family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods - a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart: Nainoa, working now as a paramedic on the streets of Portland, struggles to fathom the full measure of his expanding abilities; further north in Washington, his older brother Dean hurtles into the world of elite college athletics, obsessed with wealth and fame; while in California, risk-obsessed younger sister Kaui navigates an unforgiving academic workload in an attempt to forge her independence from the family's legacy. When supernatural events revisit the Flores family in Hawai'i - this time with tragic consequences - they are all forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.

How to get a copy

Bowman Library Has a few copies of Sharks in the Time of Saviors to check out.

Nearby Atherton and Redwood City libraries have both ebooks and audio versions for card holders.

Hawaiian Language Pronunciation

From "The Hawaiian language, 'Ōlelo Hawai‘i, came to our shores along with the first people to arrive from the ancestral homelands of Polynesia. The language evolved alongside the culture into the nuanced, multi-layered 'Ōlelo Hawai‘i we know today."

Use the interactive Hawaiian Pronunciation Guide on to play audio clips and enjoy learning some of the most commonly used words and phrases of the Hawaiian language. Try it!


Kawai Strong Washburn was born and raised on the Hamakua coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i. His first novel, Sharks in the Time of Saviors, Won the 2021 PEN/Hemingway award for debut novel and the 2021 Minnesota Book Award; it was also longlisted for the 2020 Center For Fiction First Novel Prize and was a finalist for the 2021 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Former US President Barack Obama chose it as a favorite novel of 2020, and it was selected as a notable or best book of the year by over a dozen publications, including the New York Times and Boston Globe. It has also been translated into eight languages and counting. Washburn lives with his wife and two daughters in Minneapolis.



About Hawaii

Likely the first name that comes to many people's minds when thinking of the Pacific Islands, Hawaii is known for many things: its beaches, dances, language, food, and being the only state of the US to house a monarchical palace.

However, there is much more to learn about the arts, culture, people, and social issues beyond the fact that Hawai'i is currently the 50th state, and Bowman Library's healthy collection of E-material is here to help. 

Listed below is a sampling of the various works currently available as E-books at Bowman Library, all of which are easily accessible off campus with a valid Menlo College ID.




About the Menlo Common Book Program

Each year, Menlo designates a common book for all first-year students, although all members of the Menlo Community are encouraged to read the book. The book is sent to each first-year student with the expectation that students will arrive on campus ready to discuss this year's selection. Instructors teaching freshman English and STS100 classes incorporate themes and selections from the common book into their classes. 

The Common Book is selected with community input by the Menlo Common Book Committee each year. The committee selects titles based on readability, application to the Menlo curriculum, and relation to national and global issues.