May 2011 Book Selection

The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Monday, May 9, 2011
6:30 pm @ TBA

The Bone People weaves its story together with dreams, myths and legends, the world of the dead, and the ways of ancient cultures. The result is an unconventional and powerful novel which, after being rejected by major New Zealand publishers, was published by a women’s collective and won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1985. The Bone People explores the potential within families for both destruction and healing, as well as the great personal costs of the disintegration of individual connections to traditional communities and cultures – in this case, the indigenous Maori culture of New Zealand. The novel centers on a strange trinity of characters, each isolated, each spiritually adrift. Simon, a mute child surrounded by mysteries, is found on a beach and is adopted by Joe, a Maori man embittered by the loss of his wife and son and thwarted in his desire for family, religious, and cultural ties. The two are bound together by “a bloody kind of love that has violence as its silent partner.” Simon and Joe come into the life of Kerewin, a part-Maori woman estranged from her family. She is a strong woman, compassionate and powerful, a sensualist who delights in color and landscape, food and archaic language, but who is also wary and conflicted. The three come together, break apart, experience great pain and loss, and eventual healing. Ultimately, the family they create stands as Keri Hulme’s assertion of vitality and regeneration for individuals, families and traditional cultures.

About Keri Hulme

Book Summary

Guardian Review

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Book Club Review

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