Tu tells the story of Te-Hokowhitu-a-Tu, one of three sons from the same family who go to war, but the only son to return. When his young niece and nephew come to him to find out what really happened, Tu decides to hand over his diary which records his wartime experiences, and the life of his family in 1940s Wellington. Grace has drawn from the accounts of her father and other relatives, creating an authentic and moving story. NZ Interest. Deutz Medal Winner, Montana NZ Book Awards. [Larger font]
Comments from Groups
Highly recommended. Well written by an outstanding NZ author. Thames 002
We all enjoyed this book. We could all relate to the history and the family experiences of WW2. We enjoyed the characterisation, the Maori cultural dimension, and all enjoyed Patricia Grace's writing style which is vivid, realistic and very readable. A "best read" for this year. Whangarei 008
We found it a sad but powerful book, which the group thoroughly enjoyed. Auckland 013
Well written. There was a general feeling of sadness that the Maori, who thought they might be treated with more equality after fighting so well, ended up no better off in NZ. The book also led to a general discussion about the futility of war. Paihia 003
This was a good book - informative and quite gentle. We all learned a lot about WW2, and the treatment of Maori during the 1930s and 1940s. Taupo 006
The majority loved the book; those that didn't, acknowledged the author's ability and the way she merged the two narratives together. Christchurch 095
All of our group thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very thought provoking and shaming, but not in a heavy handed way. It was graphic at times, and hard to believe fiction - although loosely based on the author's father's diary. One of Patricia Grace's best. Piopio 001
Everyone really appreciated the book. The mixture of family story and war story worked well. We all gained insight into what the Maori Battalion accomplished, and had to face at Monte Casino and elsewhere. The overall theme of the effects of war on the participants, and those close to them, was well conveyed. The depiction of the different personalities within the family and their wonderful Ma, was very well done. Issues such as the drift from rural to urban living, the attitudes of Pakeha, and the political situation were well addressed. Patricia Grace manages to cover these issues and many more, while still writing a very readable novel. We had an excellent discussion. A very worthwhile book. Christchurch 001
A very well-written and moving book. The author portrayed Tu so well that we began to think he and his family were real. Dreadful war scenes.
Those of us who had not read any of Patricia Grace's books were completely bowled over by her insights, craftsmanship and beautiful writing. Her stories gave us new perspectives on Maori culture and thoughts. Produced a great discussion.
Very enjoyable read.
This book created a long discussion; one member brought her father's photos along (he was there), and talked about going to Italy for the anniversaries. All enjoyed the book, and one reader asked if you can knit with No.8 wire - this provoked a long discussion. Thank you, her works are poetry!
We all learnt a lot about an interesting part of Kiwi history.
Liked it better after the second reading. Clear message about the futility of armed large scale war, and the personal hurt and loss to soldiers and civilians - also the pride in his battalion and comrades. Covers the experience of Maori urbanisation, and the loss of potential leaders as a result of the combat and aftermath.
This book continued in our collective thoughts well after we had finished it.
A very poignant book enjoyed by all. Much discussion on people known to us who fought at Cassino or were in the Maori battalion.
Mixed reviews on this book. Some rated it highly, others took a while to read it in several bites. It did lead to a good discussion on issues regarding society and acceptance/non-acceptance of Maori back in 40s & 50s and also the WW2 Maori battalion. We agreed that we had learnt from it but some found the jumping in time frames rather confusing.
Beautifully and sensitively written.
This book was unanimously appreciated by all members in the group. It was powerfully written, the juxtaposition of the 'current' and past worked very well. It highlights the pressure on the boys in the Maori Battalion to go out to fight, as it was thought by the kaumatua that it would at long last give them equality in NZ. Sadly this was not the case, and this is so well described. It highlights also the destructive force on people and countries through war, and the long term effects. Highly recommended.
Very enjoyable read.
A beautiful book that takes you into the scenes and makes you feel like you know the people. It deals with the harsh realities of how Mori have been treated in Aoteaoroa, but it is hopeful. Every Kiwi should read this book.
Those members who managed to settle and read during this strange time really enjoyed it. If we can meet next month well discuss it further. It was appropriate to read it so close to Anzac Day too.
The group got a great deal out of the book and enjoyed it immensely.
Enlightening and very moving. Beautifully written.