Winner of the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award for Excellence in Literature
THREE YEARS ON DOREENS SOFA is the story of Bobby, a bumbling, affable ne’er-do-well, and his wildly misguided attempts to go straight after serving three years in jail for a stupid drug-related offense. His sister Doreen lets him stay on her sofa until he gets his life back together. Hilarious and heartwarming, this is a fun read that you won’t want to miss.
Excerpts from THREE YEARS ON DOREENS SOFA were published in BAMBOO RIDGE Issues #91 and #94.
This publication was made possible with support from the Mayor’s Office of Culture & the Arts (MOCA) and the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA), through appropriations from the Hawai‘i State Legislature (and by the National Endowment for the Arts [NEA]). Additional support for Bamboo Ridge Press activities is provided by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities.
Lee Cataluna was born on Maui and raised in plantation houses in Wailuku, Koloa, and Ka‘u. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, in 1988, and in 1999 was named Distinguished Young Alumna of the University. She is now a graduate student in Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. After working for ten years in local television and radio, she became a columnist for The Honolulu Advertiser and currently writes for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. She is a 2004 winner of the Cades Award for Literature for her body of work and served as the 2004-2005 Keables Chair at ‘Iolani School. Her award-winning plays have been produced in theaters around Hawai‘i and her collection of short stories, FOLKS YOU MEET IN LONGS (Bamboo Ridge Press, 2005), was awarded the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association’s Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award for Excellence in Literature in 2006.
Me and Doreen is brother/sister and we cousins at the same time. Same father, different mothers, but our mothers is sisters. Made on the same day, born on the same day, forty weeks after a Youth Rehab graduation party at Kepaniwai Park. We have a half-sister who is a week older, but she’s just a sister because her mother wasn’t related to our mothers. As far as we know, but, she was made around the same time in the same car in the same parking lot up Iao Valley.
Lee Cataluna has written a book that is both laugh-out-loud funny and heart-wrenchingly poignant, often on the same page, as her ex-con narrator becomes a pidgin Shakespeare and guides us through the underbelly of paradise.
--Mark Haskell Smith, author of DELICIOUS
Guaranteed to make you laugh and think while breaking your heart at the same time, THREE YEARS ON DOREEN'S SOFA is Lee Cataluna’s blues rendition about that inevitable wear-and-tear called “home” and the wounded people in it who love and lean on each other with hurt attached. Most of all, it is about redemption on the rocks, about one man’s desperate attempt to start all over, to hang on to whatever meaning’s left in his life, knowing the odds are against him. A remarkable debut novel—no, make that an instant classic—from one of Hawai‘i’s exciting and original voices.
--R. Zamora Linmark, author of LECHE and DRIVE BY VIGILS
THREE YEARS ON DOREEN'S SOFA is an outrageous, touching, clear-eyed, raunchy, and hilarious tour of the dark side of today’s Maui. It’s amazing just how much happens to the main character Bobby, as he encounters a huge cast of characters every bit as memorable as the folks you’ve met in Longs. Bobby has to learn that stupid isn’t funny but Lee Cataluna knows it from the start, so the most ridiculous moments ring true, showing that even at their worst, most people are just trying to handle. An endlessly inventive and engaging story by one of Hawai‘i’s favorite writers.
--Craig Howes, co-producer of ALOHA SHORTS
Lee Cataluna is one freakishly talented-crazy writer whose THREE YEARS ON DOREEN'S SOFA is a bust-your-face, laugh-out-loud joy ride. So good. No lie. For real.
--Ed Sakamoto, playwright of STEW RICE and ALOHA LAS VEGAS
Lee Cataluna’s new book, THREE YEARS ON DOREEN'S SOFA, is a highly imaginative and finely crafted story that could only have been written by someone who was born with an “Organically Grown in Hawai‘i” stamp on her soul. In a dark comedy, we follow the dizzying adventures of Bobby, an anti-hero who stumbles through life along an inevitable avenue of trouble. Satirical, raunchy, fantastic, absurd, and always hilarious, Lee takes local humor beyond the cutting edge and into a whole new realm.
--Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, author of MURDER CASTS A SHADOW
Lee Cataluna wants her readers to meet Candide’s distant cousin: Meet Bobby, who sleeps part-time on his sister’s couch—he’s local and native fauna of Kepaniwai Park—or maybe you’d rather not. Panglossian, eternally optimistic swimming in the ebb tide of Hawai‘i post diasporan tsunami, Bobby leaves a trail at the foamy edge of the receding surf, slurpy cups, chicken bones, the familiar Styrofoam detritus of paradise lost. Displaced cuckoo birds gargling in palm shade groves, napalm fueling bbq smoke, a rising curtain to Paradise sunset, paradise lost, the littoral an Edenic wasteland. If you’re
local, you won’t laugh. Laughing inside these pages is for tourists. For all its humor, the narrative is excoriating and relentless.
--Jeffery Paul Chan, author of EAT EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU DIE