Friday, August 21, 2009
The Bone People, by Keri Hulme
What is "family"? An eremitic asexual woman artist encounters a lost, uncommunicative, and destructive 6 year old "wild child" and then the child's caretaker, a widowed Maori man with a drinking problem and a tendency to hit the boy after the boy goes out of his way to defy him. The two adults spiral downward into despair over their own lives and their failure to understand the child. The fully Anglicized part-Maori woman and the Maori man estranged from his community are confronted with neglected Maori communal spirituality, and the woman discovers the probable past of the boy and the key to connecting with the boy. The woman is still asexual, the man still not sexually coupled, the boy is still emotionally damaged, but the three know that they are family.
Hulme is a New Zealand writer. This novel won the Booker Prize 20-25 years ago.
50 Books for Problematic Times is still accepting submissions!