Darrell Lum’s signature pidgin narratives dominate this nine-story collection, which also includes standard English stories and comic strip illustrations. Endearing and insightful, Lum’s characters tell stories of initiation, family, wonder and community. In Pass On, No Pass Back!, “community is not defined by delineating boundaries, but by moving the center outwards to include what has traditionally been defined as marginal. Lum’s is a vision of the possibility once expressed by Derek Walcott that ‘the highest expression of culture is a total acceptance of every human being.'” — The Mid-American Review
Winner of the 1992 Association for Asian American Studies National Book Award and the 1991 Elliot Cades Award for Literature.
From HONOLULU MAGAZINE’S 50 Essential Hawai‘i Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime:
“Only in Hawai‘i” probably best describes these stories, whose unassuming titles—“Victor,” “Horses,” “Toad”—launch readers into their young characters’ stream-of-pidgin consciousness. Cartoons by Lum’s intermediate school classmate, Art Kodani, add deadpan absurdity. A local treasure, where pidgin meets modernism.
Author and playright, Darrell Lum, was born in 1950 in Honolulu, Hawaii. With Eric Chock in 1978, he founded Bamboo Ridge Press, a small literary press devoted to publishing work that reflects Hawaii's multicultural people.
Lum's own work draws on the humor and heartbreak of growing up in Hawaii speaking pidgin English (Hawaiian creole English). It explores the formation of a "local" identity, one formed by grandmothers who arrive in Hawaii as children at the end of the nineteenth century and of whom he was ashamed as a child, longing to be "all-American"; by a grandfather who wrote classical Chinese poetry in an outdoor gazebo he called "Lum's Pavilion of Filial Piety Inspirations"; and by all the stories that continue to weave in and out of his life.