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The Bone People
The Bone People
Author: Keri Hulme
Winner of the Booker Prize. — In a tower on the New Zealand sea lives Kerewin Holmes, part Maori, part European, an artist estranged from her art, a woman in exile from her family. One night her solitude is disrupted by a visitor -- a speechless, mercurial boy named Simon, who tries to steal from her and then repays her with his most prized posse...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780330296106
ISBN-10: 0330296108
Publication Date: 12/1998
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 5

3.4 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 1
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Bone People on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
This is a book that lingers. I picked it up because of the cover and title.. which reached out to me. There were many things in the book that were so real, and deep.
Sometimes it was hard to read.
This is fiction that tells the truth.
reviewed The Bone People on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
This is an intense and harrowing book, and I loved it. Reading this book really hurt. It's a wrenching portrayal of strong and intelligent people whose own strength is tearing themselves apart, and whose unflinching acceptance of reality can't overcome the damage done to them. I fell in love with Kerewin, brilliant and loquacious, and slowly eating herself alive.
reviewed The Bone People on + 975 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Powerful and disturbing book. An abused and traumatized child, a man whose dreams have died one by one, and a woman who has shut herself off from life come together in a mixture of violence and love that threatens to destroy all of them.
reviewed The Bone People on + 200 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I loved this book. I have lived in New Zealand, and the descriptive writing really gives you a sense of the people and landscape of those islands. There is a lot of Maori language used (thankfully, there's a section at the end that explains and translates), and it adds to the exotic-yet-familiar feel of the writing. There are disturbing issues among the characters, including serious child abuse, which should be noted by those sensitive to such topics. Very highly recommended for fans of contemporary or New Zealand literature.
reviewed The Bone People on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a really interesting book! It's suspenseful and intelligently-written, and I highly recommend it.

From the back of the book...

"In a tower on the New Zealand sea lives Kerewin Holmes, part Maori, part European, an artist estranged from her art, a woman in exile from her family. One night her solitude is disrupted by a visitor-- a speechless, mercurial boy named Simon, who tries to steal from her and then repays her with his most prized posession. As Kerewin succumbs to Simon's federal charm, she also falls under the spell of his Maori foster father Joe, who rescued the boy from a shipwreck and now treats him with an unsettling mixture of tenderness and brutality. Out of this unorthodox trinity Keri Hulme has created what is at once a mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, clash, and sometimes merge."
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reviewed The Bone People on + 50 more book reviews
In a small town on the South Island of New Zealand, Kerewin, a blocked artist, lives in a handbuilt medieval-style tower on the beach-front in odd, dreamlike isolation. Her intense privacy is abruptly invaded by Simon, an odd pirate of a child washed ashore after being shipwrecked around the age of 2, his background still a mystery. Now a mute but angry 6 year old, Simon is loving, sarcastic, frustrated, whip-smart, and determined to be understood - by all means necessary, both loving and violent...with healthy doses of kleptomania and acting-out thrown in. His Maori foster father, Joe, cares so deeply for the child that he alternates showering him with conventional love with a disturbing pattern of increasingly harsh beatings to discipline Simon into some semblance of civilized behavior. In an interesting twist, the author makes it possible to see the humanity in a so-called "child beater" along with the cruel and expert ways children engage in manipulation.

While the first 2/3s of the book are riveting (my advice: just let it kind of wash over you), the resolution feels forced and meanders aimlessly, indulging the author's tendencies toward stream-of-thought wordplay and flat-out weirdness.
reviewed The Bone People on + 6 more book reviews
An engrossing, elliptical, mystical vignette of the Maori heritage in New Zealand. Emotionally challenging, but ultimately rewarding.


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