Customer Reviews


37 Reviews
5 star:
 (29)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Identity isn't Skin Deep
This is a story about three people, but it is moreover an account of a culture that has been splintered by colonialism. There were a lot of critical arguments circulating at the time of this novel's publication because there was a heavy debate over what the Maori culture should represent itself as and if this female author was doing it properly. The powerful thing about...
Published on 14 Nov 2002 by Eric Anderson

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bone People
I bought the book to read for our Book Club as someone had recommended it. I found it quite a hard book to get into with pages of descriptive sequences and poetry, that for me, got in the way of the actual story. The characters are all quite difficult individuals and it does make quite a painful read at times and challenges perceptions about what is right and wrong...
Published on 2 July 2010 by CateSaint


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Identity isn't Skin Deep, 14 Nov 2002
By 
Eric Anderson (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bone People (Paperback)
This is a story about three people, but it is moreover an account of a culture that has been splintered by colonialism. There were a lot of critical arguments circulating at the time of this novel's publication because there was a heavy debate over what the Maori culture should represent itself as and if this female author was doing it properly. The powerful thing about the novel is that while reading it you are hardly aware of the culture representation because at the heart of the story is the conflicts of the central characters. But likewise, when you stand back to look at the novel you see is that the influence of Maori culture is everywhere present in this novel. Instead of trying to interpret these characters as cultural symbols, perhaps they should be conceived as individuals coming to terms with their own identity like anyone else. Kerewin has all the marking of the stereotypical independent artist. She even lives in a tower by the sea, but she is unable to paint. You will find her overpowering ego annoying, but I think you are meant to. Her rapture with herself is one of the things she must learn to overcome throughout the novel. All of the three main characters have a form of artistic expression that is being suppressed through a division in their identity. They must each overcome a barrier before they can truly express themselves and they can only do this together. The interactions between the characters are a masterful portrayal of the way in which close people, especially family members, can avoid some of the most obvious conflicts in their lives when to anyone else they would be quite evident. Toward the end of the novel the characters sink into an almost mythical state of being where their only hope of survival is through a reinvention of their being. This is a sharp departure from the straightforward story up until this point. But it is gradually introduced through a growing emphasis on the internal processes of the characters by narrating their thoughts.
I found it disappointing that this novel wasn't properly edited before publication. For some reason the author views this as something to boast about, but I found that a rewording of some phrases and maybe slight cuts for some of the superfluously long scenes would have added to the immense pleasure of reading this astounding novel. Still, as you can tell, it didn't detract from my enjoyment of it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning exploration of bonds between disparate characters, 5 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This is a densely woven, idiosyncratic book written from three separate viewpoints. It deals with the nature of relationships, the nature of selfhood and the meaning of family and cultural values. Drawing upon the Maori culture and history it blends narrative and philosophy, twisting and turning, and carrying the reader on a voyage of discovery. Each reading reveals additional levels and complexities of narrative, touching on the meaning of identity and the fusion of past present and future, and provides confirmation that this one of the outstanding works of literature of the decade if not the century.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Poetry, 19 Feb 2004
By 
Mrs. A. C. Whiteley "AllieW" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bone People (Paperback)
This is no mere book. Rather, it is an experience. An experience which covers virtually the whole gamut of human emotion. It resonates with beautiful poetry and is steeped in the deep spirituality of the Maori people. Their beautiful language (translated in a glossary at the back) peppers the narrative of this achingly poignant story of the (originally) hermit like Kerewin, Joe and his adopted son, Simon. They are drawn to each other, and indeed they have many similarities. All are nursing some deep private hurt from the past and as such each has their own barriers and each can be their own worst enemy. Yet each of them, too is possessed of a deep, fierce love for the others and a strong sense of community.
So much drama is contained in these 450 pages that you may think the plot line would be jumbled and incoherent. This is emphatically not so – the plot line never falters. Through this novel, too, we are made to confront our own judgements and prejudgements about subjects such as child abuse and behavioural difficulties. There is so much humanity in this book – we are forced to see each character as a rounded person with good and bad attributes. Nothing is black and white, Keri Hulme seems to be telling us. No one is wholly a monster nor wholly a saint. This point is really hammered home in the final few chapters, which are some of the most harrowing and yet joyful passages of literature I have ever read.
Never before have I read such a powerful, majestic, spiritual and thoroughly human book. I had to read it in bits, and come back to it again and again; it was such a potent and heady brew. I invite you, no, implore you, to dip into this multifaceted and precious treasure. It will be an experience you will never forget, I guarantee.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and highly compelling, 6 Oct 2009
By 
BookWorm "BookWorm" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Bone People (Paperback)
A wonderfully strange, original, and very compelling novel. It's written in what I consider quite a poetic style - not something I usually enjoy, so for the first few pages I expected not to like it. But this is a book that gets under your skin. It's incredibly readable - unputdownable in the second half. The emotions are raw and powerful, the brutality heartbreaking. Despite it's mythical elements, it never seems whimsical or implausible - there's a firm grounding in reality.

The story centres on three very lonely, damaged people and their efforts to connect meaningfully with each other and the world - with mixed results. One is an embittered reclusive artist, another an orphaned and deeply disturbed mute child, and the third a widowed factory worker who feels that nothing in his life has worked out. I could believe in all of the characters and understand the emotions that drove them - even if their actions were sometimes terrible.

The use of Maori phrases littered throughout the story - another technique (in any language) that I'm not a fan of - actually works well here. I found myself picking up the more common words and most are used in a context that makes it easy to guess without spoiling the flow of the text. There's a translation section at the back, conveniently arranged in page order.

Overall this is a thought provoking book that manages to really say something about the nature of human relationships - love, hate, loneliness - and the need of people to be with other people. It's also very gripping. A story that is both profound and highly readable - not something you come across too often, and definitely one of the worthiest winners of the Booker Prize.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, profound, infuriating and well worth reading, 9 Aug 2011
By 
Stephen Carr "ardvaark5" (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is an emotionally powerful novel which, fundamentally, is an extended illustration of the W. H. Auden line that we must love one another or die.. The novel is a graphical depiction of the process of living with other people, accepting both the joy and pain of commitment, or rejecting relationship and the demands it brings. It's a terrific read, though untidy, sometimes ragged, and not always very plausible. It's also an impressive depiction of Maori culture, in its mixed modern existence. This is a demanding book, sometimes a bit infuriating and you may well feel like banging a few heads together, but well worth the effort.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bone People, 2 July 2010
This review is from: The Bone People (Paperback)
I bought the book to read for our Book Club as someone had recommended it. I found it quite a hard book to get into with pages of descriptive sequences and poetry, that for me, got in the way of the actual story. The characters are all quite difficult individuals and it does make quite a painful read at times and challenges perceptions about what is right and wrong. Good points - interesting topic, challenging and certainly not one dimensional but on the negative side it is overly long and laden with description/dream sequences. On the whole I enjoyed it and we had great discussion at our group about it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor print, 18 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Bone People (Paperback)
The print of the book is such poor quality that I find it difficult to read. Book highly recommended to me but I would not have bought if I knew the poor standard of print, small and smudgey. Would like to try on kindle.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary!, 25 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Wow, tough!! I would strongly recommend this, it is wonderfully written, but it is only for those with a strong constitution!! A beautiful and very human tale, exposing the most beautiful and the ugliest traits within man. I found it a very tough read at times, but couldn't put it down either. Try it!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 10 April 2009
By 
A. Hope "bookcrossing ali" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the story of three unforgettable characters, Kerewin, a hemit and artist, Joe a hard drinking widower and his adopted mute son Simon.

How can I even begin to review this really quite atonishing book. It is sometimes hard to read on two levels; hard because some of the things these characters do to one another, and the repercussions - made me almost want to look away, but also because of the langauge used in the novel. There are many maori phrases, words and names, even the print is not always arranged in a conventional way. At times the story of Simon, Kerewin and Joe is nothing short of heartbreaking, it is often brutal, horribly so. What fascinated me was the idea of how three people only really worked when they were together, that despite the terrible things that were visted upon Simon, I found myself slowly beginning to forgive Joe and Kerewin for their betrayl of one of the most memorable child characters I have read about. There were several times when I had tears in my eyes as I read, and I think I'll continue to think about Simon in particular for some time to come.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars truly stunning, 24 July 2006
By 
Mrs. S. Senior (derbyshire, uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bone People (Paperback)
I first read this book at sixth form, and whilst the enforced reading I endured there seemed to breed a natural ill will against the titles we were given, the Bone People rose above this to become one of my favourite books of all time. testament to this is the fact that, having just re-read it for a tenth time, it is the first book I've felt compelled to review.

The characters capture you, the language seduces you - the whole thing just blows your mind. A worthy booker winner. Read it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Bone People
The Bone People by Keri Hulme (Paperback - 9 Nov 2001)
6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews