Author Works: Gail Tsukiyama - The Color of Air (Online)

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“In The Color of Air, Tsukiyama has created a community with characters who meet difficulties and persist with grace and endurance; whose dependence on one another is, in fact, their greatest strength. A rich historical novel that illustrates why connection is more important and more vital than ever.”

Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

The beloved bestselling author and recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, Gail Tsukiyama is back with THE COLOR OF AIR. A novelist whose dual Chinese and Japanese background features prominently in her writing, Tsukiyama returns with a novel whose prose flows like the lava threatening her characters, with the grace of stringing leis with pikake, kukui nuts, and ti leaves. The literal and figurative scents of Hawai’i leap off the page and into the sight, sounds, taste, and touch of readers as they live alongside the Hilo locals, and hear the voices of the ghosts they cannot let go.


In The Color of Air, the residents of Hilo town will be forced to revisit their pasts as they await the outcome of the Mauna Loa volcano eruption on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Their stories move through alternating sections from 1935 to the even deeper past— a rich, vibrant, bittersweet chorus which tells the interweaving stories of Koji, Mariko, Nori, Daniel, and Maile, their lifelong bond to each other and to others in their immigrant community. Even as the eruption of the Mauna Loa Volcano threatens their lives and livelihoods, it also unearths long held secrets that have been simmering just below the surface.

Readers of authors Lisa See, Isabel Allende, Min Jin Lee, and Lisa Ko will love Tsukiyama’s emotional and historically rich story of the sometimes beautiful and sometimes brutal immigrant experience and the bonds of family.

In her years aside from writing, Tsukiyama co-founded an incredible non-profit called WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water. Alongside bestselling authors Ann Patchett, Gillian Flynn, Karen Joy Fowler, Mary Roach, and Lisa See, the foundation’s mission is to give children in developing communities hope for the future through nourishing their minds and bodies with books and water. 

About the Author

Gail Tsukiyama was born in San Francisco, California to a Chinese mother from Hong Kong and a Japanese father from Hawaii. She attended San Francisco State University where she received both her Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Arts Degree in English. She is the bestselling author of Women of the Silk and The Samurai's Garden, as well as the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award. She divides her time between El Cerrito and Napa Valley, California.

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Thank you to our Bookstore partner, Books with a Past 

This event is part of HCLS Racial Equity and Inclusion series.


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