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The Bone People: A Novel Paperback – October 7, 1986
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"This book is just amazingly, wondrously great."
"An original, overwhelming, near-great work of literature"
The Washinton Post Book World
"Unforgettably rich and pungent"
The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Keri Hulme, a Maori, grew up in Christchurch and Moeraki, New Zealand. She writes, paints, and whitebaits in Okarito, Westland. Hulme has written poems and short stories; The Bone People, originally published by Spiral, a New Zealand feminist collective, is her first novel. She has also written Te Zaihau: The Windeater.
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New Zealander Kerewin Holmes lives in seclusion in a rustic six-story tower she built. When completed it was a skeletal structure of concrete and exposed wood that she adopted as her “glimmering retreat.” Part Maori, she is isolated after a breakup with her family with no desire of having people infringe on her solitude. Along comes a strange young boy, Simon, who refuses to leave her alone and eventually his father, Joe, joins him in disrupting her life.
She develops a fondness for the boy, and eventually comes to enjoy the company of the father until the disturbing details of Joe’s physical punishment on his disturbed son comes apparent. Kerewin lays down the law to Joe on beating his son. But, as her relationship with Simon deepens, she too becomes victim to the boy’s irrational behavior and an explosive episode ends in disaster.
The scenic beauty of New Zealand is masterfully depicted, as is the complex culture of the Maori. The brutality of the punishment of Simon is hard to take but essential in that the book is a study of human frailty and inability to cope with the behavior of a troubled child. The internal dialogue of the characters is difficult to follow at times but again is essential to the heart of the story. The entire gist of the story as the author has chosen to present it makes for strenuous reading, but I found method in the writer’s madness: It’s a mystical look at the difficulty of life with this type of child.
A bit of a warning: This is neither glamorous nor frivolous writing and might be a turn off to some. There is no solid ending, only a sort of disappearing into obscurity. I found that it provided a different insight into a world we know little about and that’s the reason for my reading obsession. I want to experience the diversity I find in books.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES
maybe its just cuz i exclusively read erotic thrillers and eloquently beautiful literature goes over my head.
but i can still tell its a good book, i'd recommend it.