The Bone People

The Bone People

4.4 7
by Keri Hulme, Pepa Heller

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At once a mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, Booker Prize-winning novel The Bone People is a powerful and unsettling tale saturated with violence and Maori spirituality.


At once a mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, Booker Prize-winning novel The Bone People is a powerful and unsettling tale saturated with violence and Maori spirituality.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is just amazingly, wondrously great."
—Alice Walker

"An original, overwhelming, near-great work of literature"
The Washinton Post Book World

"Unforgettably rich and pungent"
—The New York Times Book Review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Winner of the 1985 Booker Prize, this novel by a New Zealander of Maori, Scottish and English ancestry focuses on three peopleone Maori, one European and one of mixed bloodwho are locked together in animosity and love. Although Hulme sometimes is sidetracked into self-indulgent verbiage, ``she has abundant, enticing stories to tell of culturally split lives,'' PW found. (October)
Library Journal
This is quite a first novel. The ending is revealed at its mysterious beginning; exotic line breaks and poetic punctuation put off at first but gradually become the best way to tell the tale; the Maori vocabulary is interwoven with contemporary British, Australian, and American idioms; and the New Zealand sea- and landscape vibrate under fresh perception. Hulme shifts narrative points of view to build a gripping account of violence, love, death, magic, and redemption. A silverhaired, mute, abused orphan, a laborer heavy with sustained loss, and a brilliant intro spective recluse discover, after enormous struggle through injury and illness, what it means to lose and then regain a family. No wonder The Bone People won the Pegasus Prize. Highly recommended. Rhoda Yerburgh, Adult Degree Program, Vermont Coll., Montpelier

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet 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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The Bone People 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
verysmallgiant More than 1 year ago
I've read this book a number of times, I return to it every few years. The first reading nearly destroyed me, because the content is so emotionally disturbing. Child abuse is never a good time, though the other presiding themes of isolation and the human capacity for love and forgiveness redeem it from the realm of senseless violence. At a certain point in the first reading I was so absorbed in the psyche of the characters that I found myself completely invested, and could not have walked away if I'd tried. It is the mark of a great book to be so wholly effected by it....good or bad, but never indifferent. I have to admit that I have never liked the ending, but the journey to that point is one you can't soon forget. This book will not be for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This extraordinary psychological study and excursion into the deep and sometimes surreal recesses of New Zealands Maori culture, took Hulme ten years to write, and justifiably won the Booker. Hulme invests the book with her own wholly original style and lexicon, and achieves an aura of deep, exotic mystery against a bleak yet engaging interpersonal narrative, while working both the maori and english languages in new and startling ways. From New Zealand's rugged and inaccessible west coast, she crafts a multilayered fable about a location few people have ever been, and achieves a wholly unique time, place and sensibility. A major work of art on many levels, it is fundamentally an experiential masterpiece, leaving you slightly melancholic but profoundly awed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent, unsettling piece of artistry. Frightening at times, but more often terribly human. It is a book you go back and read again and again, without ever realising it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is so intense, so well-written, and so thoroughly amazing... and so important. An example of some of the best, most original writing out there. You are truly taken into the story, and profoundly affected by it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books ever. When this story takes you it doesn't let you go. Unusually and beautifully written. As a reader I had to stop and wonder, 'how did she do that?' Very well!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Bone People is a novel that makes you want to keep reading. Keri Hulme lets you get so into the characters that you're telling them what they should and shouldn't do. Once you start reading this book, the Maorian culture becomes a part of you. Hulme uses effective ways to catch the reader's attention. The book was so good I didn't want it to end. I wish I knew what would happen next! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone!