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After moving to Aotearoa, I decided that the first book I read should probably be by a native author. Fortunately, a friend and mentor or mine had mentioned one.

book: The Bone People, by Keri Hulme
genre: fiction
suggested by: Sarah Gridley (Poet in Residence, CWRU)

The Bone People is frequently billed as a mystery novel. While it’s true that Hulme drops little clues about her characters’ pasts and personalities to let her readers piece them together, it’s difficult to accept that this is the most appropriate category for her œuvre. This book is poignant and heart-breakingly poetic; it’s story is fluid and lovely and brutal; the language is an absolute joy to read – dizzying at times, deeply moving and expressive. The writing centers on three main characters and the way their lives become inextricably entwined.

But none of this does any justice to what this book accomplishes. It’s a tale that shows what it means to be human, and not only invites, but involves the reader. I cannot entreat you enough – please read this book.

recommended for:
-starving artists
-anyone who likes James Joyce
-anyone who dislikes James Joyce
-anyone who knows what the Booker Prize is
-anyone who likes characters based on the thinly veiled prototype of the author
-anyone who has ever wanted to start over
-domestic violence survivors
-cancer survivors
-all literate lifeforms

My Goodreads review of The Bone People