When Tauk drops his younger brother Ari off at Aunty Kat and Uncle Stu's in Kaikoura, he's free to head off with his surfboard and guitar to ... well, anywhere really. Ari will have the friendship of Beth and her dog Lupo from the farm next door, and Tauk will be able to get away from everything that has happened that left them orphaned. Interwoven with their diverging lives, is the story of their mother Jade and the gang world she was born into.
Raw and moving, this is a story of the graphic realities of gang life, of intergenerational trauma and the unexpected glimmer of hope on Tauk and Ari's horizons.
No one in the group enjoyed the book because it ( the content) was so graphic, so depressing , sordid but so real. It is so powerfully written that when reading, one could see what was happening and where. A very well-written book which created great discussion. As one member said, we all found it difficult to accept that this was happening in our country, something we did know but put in the back of our minds. This book brought it to the forefront. Scored 3 for enjoyment, but a 5 for how well it was written.
Our group felt this book but was well-written, but some found it confronting and sad. Educational too. Votes were split - mostly 2's and 4's.
Mixed opinions on this book. Some couldn't finish it - too unpleasant. Others loved it.
Interestingly written. A little raw for our group. Chronologically challenging, as were the relationships.
Most people were impressed with the writing but did not find the material comfortable. One didn't finish it because of content and another didn't finish because it was confusing and she was unable to keep track of the characters. Most people commented on the difficulty of this, but generally felt that it was finally drawn together extremely well. Having worked out the characters some felt a second reading would be beneficial.
Our members loved this book and found it deeply moving. Two of the group read it twice. One (an author herself) felt that it needed editing, but we al loved the symbolism and the use of the "ghost voice" of Aroha who commented from the next life. Can't wait for her next book!
Certainly an uncomfortable read. Two levels of rawness and reality in our own back yard, and the heaviness of a situation that won't go away. Thought provoking text that stirred up memories of stories in our lives. Tricky text format travelling past to present. Created deep thinking and discussion.
'Aue' is challenging, both in its structure and its content, but those of us who persevered found it worthwhile and appreciated how well it is written.
Tragic story, well written. Most found the violence hard to read, but it is what makes the story so moving.
Most of the group didn't enjoy the content of the book. Reminiscent of 'Once Were Warriors'.
Amazing book. Devastating story, almost traumatic, but so beautifully written that you don't feel traumatised by it. We wanted to hug and take care of all of them.
The views were mixed. Some had difficulty with the violence, and the four different views in the storyline were a little complicated at times. However there was agreement on the quality of the writing which was excellent. The book certainly gave a very strong window into gang life in New Zealand. Well worth the read.
An amazing read. A must read for NZers! Beautifully written, tugs at the heartstrings. Difficult subject matter.
Good read. A little difficulty with remembering who was who. Great discussion.
Beautifully written book about a very raw subject revealing a lot about the underbelly of NZ. Most found it a compelling read, enjoyed the lighter moments especially the younger children Beth and Ari, but found it depressing overall. Good discussion and the notes were helpful. One member read most of it a second time, gaining much better understanding, especially the words of the 'ghost'.
This book is a must-read. A beautifully-written book with well-defined characters that the reader come to love. The story is haunting and intriguing and the book is so hard to put down. We all loved it!
This novel, set in New Zealand, which covers gang relationships and the family life of a particular group of characters of a variety of ages; gave rise to an interesting discussion. While the majority of our group found the violence portrayed hard to read, we generally felt glad we had read it. We felt Manawatu's style was interesting - writing with the different time settings - and easy to read.
Our group did not really enjoy this book. While it portrayed the underbelly of N.Z. life, the actual construction of the story was difficult to follow. It jumped around too much and the characters' roles were not clear.
Saddest book we have read so far, maybe because it's so close to home. Very cleverly written. An essential read.
Compelling read - we all really enjoyed, although it was also harrowing. Some found the family tree difficult to piece together, but all agreed it is a masterful novel.
Mixed opinions - half the group thought it was very well-written, while half started but didn't like it at all.
This was an amazing book. Grim reading during lockdown ( some couldn't face it) but gripping reading and cleverly laid out as the narrative voices and storylines slowly start to come together and make sense. Sad and hard for us to understand the mindset of a woman who cannot comprehend love without violence - who stay with violent partners, and can see no escape. Tragic lives. The fact that there are currents of real life events in the book again bring home how fragmented our society is. Really recommended.
Many found this a difficult book to read.
Some of the group weren't sure about this book, but once they started reading it, they found it to be well-written and thought provoking.
We all agreed this is a very special book, well-written, with excellent characterisation. But it was a very grim read with confronting violence and child abuse as central themes. Lockdown was probably not the best time to be reading it. The narration is complex with shifting points of view and time settings.
Mixed reactions to this book. Very sad to think society never improves.
Writing style excellent. Several of the group would have appreciated an outline of the relationships to assist in understanding. In addition, about half the group needed to read the novel twice. Wonderful narrative, but complex.
Some found the subject matter confronting, and others found it powerful and poignant. Lively discussion.
A grim story, very well-written. Some readers wished for a family tree to help follow the story as it moved between generations. For others that was part of the enjoyment of reading and sorting the relationships. Beautiful language and imagery. Hard to read at times but with a cracking pace towards the end.
Most really enjoyed it. Very heavy and emotional. Liked the Kiwi connection. Some scenes hard to read. Liked the symbols throughout.
We all thought this was the best book we had read in a long time!