The Bone People: A Novel

Front Cover
LSU Press, Apr 1, 2005 - Fiction - 464 pages

Integrating both Maori myth and New Zealand reality, The Bone People became the most successful novel in New Zealand publishing history when it appeared in 1984. Set on the South Island beaches of New Zealand, a harsh environment, the novel chronicles the complicated relationships between three emotional outcasts of mixed European and Maori heritage. Kerewin Holmes is a painter and a loner, convinced that "to care for anything is to invite disaster." Her isolation is disrupted one day when a six-year-old mute boy, Simon, breaks into her house. The sole survivor of a mysterious shipwreck, Simon has been adopted by a widower Maori factory worker, Joe Gillayley, who is both tender and horribly brutal toward the boy. Through shifting points of view, the novel reveals each character's thoughts and feelings as they struggle with the desire to connect and the fear of attachment.

Compared to the works of James Joyce in its use of indigenous language and portrayal of consciousness, The Bone People captures the soul of New Zealand. After twenty years, it continues to astonish and enrich readers around the world.

 

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User Review  - Ma_Washigeri - LibraryThing

Very engaging. The plot is quite simple for such a long book - a demi-god living amongst us, and the affect on a father and son who dare to recognise and engage. However the book is not a word too ... Read full review

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User Review  - bodachliath - LibraryThing

An original, personal and visceral novel, which for me is the kind of book that justifies the existence of the Booker Prize. The surface story is about the interactions between three difficult and ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Prologue
3
Portrait Of A Sandal
11
Feelers
44
Leaps In The Dark
93
A Place To Sleep By Day
157
Spring Tide Neap Tide Ebb Tide Flood
202
Ka Tata Te Po
239
Mirrortalk
261
Nightfall
302
Candles In The Wind
310
The Kaumatua And The Broken Man
335
The Boy By His Own
386
The Woman At The Wellspring Of Death
411
Epilogue
441
Translation of Maori Words and Phrases
446
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Keri Hulme is of Maori, Scottish, and English ancestry and grew up in Christchurch and Moeraki, New Zealand. She has worked as a fish-'n'-chip cook, tobacco picker, woolen mill winder, census taker, journalist, postmistress, and television director. In 1983 she became a full-time writer. Through a government lottery, she won a plot of land on a remote Westland coast, where she erected an octagonal-shaped dwelling and settled in. She writes, paints, and fishes and has published seven books.

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