Book review

The Bone People

Keri hulme

In a few words

At its simplest , this is a story of three lost and despairing individuals coming together; Kerewin, a struggling artist; Joe, a Māori factory worker; and Simon, an autistic six-year-old orphan boy.  The setting on the wild coast of New Zealand is also integral to the story. At a more complex level it is poetry, myth, legend and mystery.

Great for

Those who enjoy being completely lost in a story, characters, imagery — and those who like to learn and be challenged. It is not for the faint hearted: There is pain, violence and sadness, and at times the writing style can be difficult to read.  

Why I love this book

This book just knocked my socks off! I was completely engrossed. I was amazed by the beautiful flowing descriptions of the bush and the beach — I could feel the wind on my face and smell the salt air. The characters' pain was so real, I was  desperate for them to find their way through.  It was almost a physical reaction and certainly a spiritual reaction. 

This book requires focus, thought and concentration to read, but it is worth the effort.  I didn’t know where the story was going to take me but the words just engulfed me. The whole book is a journey in love, people, pain and understanding. I could feel the essence of Aotearoa. There’s even humour just when you need it. 

My one criticism would be

I don't have one. Read this book — it will change you!

Kirsty Grant


Kirsty is an ex-BDS staff member who now reviews titles for the catalogue from her home in sunny Nelson. 

Kirsty leans toward grittier, intense reads. She also loves descriptive, immersive writing, losing herself in the sights, sounds, and smells of unfamiliar countries, cultures, history and significant events.

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