Armchair Traveler: Susanna Moore

A Writer's Reminiscence of Life in '50s and '60s Hawaii

Listen: Hear Susanna Moore reading about floating down mountain flumes in Hawaii, from her book <i>I Myself Have Seen It</i>.

Susanna Moore

Susanna Moore Lulu Sylbert hide caption

itoggle caption Lulu Sylbert
'I Myself Have Seen It: The Myth of Hawaii'

'I Myself Have Seen It: The Myth of Hawaii' National Geographic hide caption

itoggle caption National Geographic
Available Online

Susanna Moore is the author of several novels including In the Cut, Sleeping Beauties and The Whiteness of Bones. Her first novel, My Old Sweetheart, won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Citation and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

NPR's Renee Montagne recently spoke with Moore about her new memoir, I Myself Have Seen It. In her book Moore describes what it was like growing up in Hawaii in the 1950s and 60s. She titled the book after the manner in which her relatives ended stories told around the table. She says that she found it thrilling when, no matter how outrageous, they would end with: "I myself have seen it."

Hawaii is most often thought of as an island paradise, full of tropical breezes, grass skirts and romance. But there is much more to its history. In addition to her own story, Moore's book also recounts about 200 years of Hawaiian history, stopping at around the turn of the 20th Century "because it was too big a project... that would really be a big, serious, long book."

I Myself Have Seen It is part of the National Geographic "Directions" series — a collection of literary travel books, allowing readers to accompany authors on trips without ever leaving home.

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