No mystery here; menehune book is a must-read

Not too long ago, a simple, manila bubble-mailer was delivered to the bookstore’s post office box. Inside was a sample copy of an upcoming book published by Mutual Publishing of Honolulu, a well-known and respected company.

As soon as the book slid onto the counter from the envelope and we saw the words “Menehune,” we immediately knew this would be of high interest to Kauai residents and visitors alike. However, I was even more surprised when I saw who the author was: Jan TenBruggencate.​

He and I served together on the Kauai County Charter Review Commission for half a decade, and Jan is both a Kauai resident and a well-known and highly distinguished writer and journalist. Indeed, some of our bestselling books about Kauai have been penned by him.​

So when I saw his name attached to the book’s title, “Menehune Mystery: The Original Tales and the Origins of the Myth,” I knew this would be a winner.​

Indeed it is! In fact, it is a much-needed and welcomed addition to the texts that have been compiled on the history and myth of the ever-famous and elusive Menehune.​

Though the book is fairly short (147 pages of text, including high-quality color photos), it is packed with all the information about the Menehune that one could ask for in one place. There hasn’t been a book as dedicated on the subject since Luomala’s “Menehune of Polynesia” back in the 1950s (which we reviewed previously).​

TenBruggencate overviews both the myths and legends, as well as the anthropological findings, about the Menehune, including how the perception of them has changed over time. He leaves us with interesting questions about them yet to be answered still today. Were they real? Are they fantasy? Or perhaps … both are true?​

High quality; reasonable price; highly recommended for everyone!


Ed Justus is the owner of Talk Store Bookstore in Hanapepe. Ed and Yuriko Justus are residents of Kalaheo. Talk Story Bookstore is open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Fridays.


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