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The Bone People Paperback – Jun 29 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 553 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin USA (P); Reprint edition (June 29 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143116452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143116455
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ms Diva on April 14 2002
Format: Paperback
The Bone People is, quite simply, the most powerful, moving, stunning book I have ever read. The characters are well drawn. I wanted to hate Joe, but he was in so much pain that I couldn't, really. I never excused what he did - and Hulme did not ask the reader to do that. She challenges the reader to look at our society as a whole; to see what we do to people and how we as communities play a role in creating some of the violent, terrible situations that result in children being abused.
I know that some people found that the mysticism in the latter section of the novel took away from the book. I disagree. I found that it fit in well with the story and helped flesh out some of the messages the author was trying to get across. Some of the imagery in this novel is absolutely breathtaking. I have never been so utterly moved and transfixed by a novel as I have by this one. It challenged my perceptions and it made me a different person when I was finished it.
The book is quite long, and it can be slow in a few spots. I found that I had to read it twice. I admit I did hate Joe the first time I read the novel; I really only began to understand him the second time I read the book. This is a complex, multi-layered work that speaks to a wide range of issues: child abuse, spirituality, community, and culture.
I highly recommend this novel to everyone. You may not like it or agree with it, but you will be impacted by it. It still haunts me today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By booknblueslady on Dec 31 2001
Format: Paperback
Three is the magic number of Keri Hulme's book The Bone People. Three people, Kerewin Holmes an artist who lives by the sea in an enchanted tower which she built, Joe a Maori man who lives in a house of pain of his own creation and Simon the lost child who searching for a home, band together to form a strange family.
These three become involved with each other in a dance of death and destruction and a battle for redemption of the human spirit. They make up the family of man or the bone people, brittle ungiving beings who are attempting to fight the isolation of their souls and find fulfillment in involving themselves with each other. These three are represented by a woman Keri the artist, a man Joe the lost warrior and the child, Simon the hope for the future. Can they join together and heal each other or will they work to cause each other's destruction. That is the question of the Bone People.
Keri Hulme's has a gift with words. Her stream of consciousness writing is beautiful and compelling. Despite the beauty of her words, the story is harrowing and heart breaking. We so often hurt those who we love most. The assault on young Simon is a violence both verbal and brutally physical. Are the young resilient in nature or are they brittle and easily broken? Is the child truly the savior of the man? These are questions which Hulme's seems to ask.
Throughout the book the theme of family is recurrent. What comprises a family and what obligations do family members have to each other. The family is a bright promise kept , a joining of human lives and spirits. The members of the bone people are drawn to their own isolation. They have found diverse methods of self destruction and use them skillfully. The reader journeys through the book simultaneously loving and hating the members of this strange family.
I cannot help but recommend this book, but with the precaution that it is quite difficult reading, both in plot and style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "labibliophile" on June 5 2001
Format: Paperback
The Bone People is as perfect as a book can be. Although the author's stream-of-consciousnenss style may take a little getting used to for readers of more conventional books, it is as smooth as silk and never jarring. Hulme's manipulation of the third person subjective is masterful and we really come to know each of the three protagonists and feel their deep and continuous pain. Although the subject matter portrayed in The Bone People is dark and often horrendous, the writing itself is lyrical, a testament to Hulme's power as a poet. But make no mistake, The Bone People is a narrative, a superb one, and not a prose poem.
For me, The Bone People is a meditation about the destructive effects of closing oneself to others, of retreating and withdrawing so far into oneself that one is no longer capable of real communication and communion with others.
Each of the three protagonists, because of excessive pain, pain that goes beyond any words, has built and retreated into what he or she hopes will be a protective shell but finds instead a nightmare world, one that leads each to the very brink of death.
I have heard some people say they believe the ending to be trite or "tacked on." I found the ending absolutely perfect, and given each character's "trial by fire," I don't know how Hulme could have written the ending any differently and still maintained the integrity of her book.
I am sure there are many Maori legends, myths and references in The Bone People that I missed as I know little about this fascinating culture. But do not let a lack of Maori knowledge stop you from reading this superb book. It is, above all else, a wonderfully insightful character study that is rich, complex and filled with love and pain beyond measure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Nov. 3 2000
Format: Paperback
The Bone People is a wonderful, life-changing book that is rich in character, vivid in detail and encompasses almost the entire range of human emotions. The plot revolves around three lost souls: Kerewin, an artist who can no longer create; Simon, a mute boy who washed up on a deserted beach; and Joe, Simon's almost-stepfather.
At its heart, The Bone People is a romance but it is also a story that takes a look at the dark and serious side of life as well, especially child abuse. No one should be put off by its sometimes depressing subject matter, though. The Bone People is a book that, surprisingly and wonderfully, always manages to celebrate life in all of its complexity. In fact, much of it is lyrically beautiful despite the darkness of some of its themes.
The Bone People is extraordinarily well-written (enough so to garner Hulme a Booker Prize). This is a book with a style and voice all its own, something highly unusual in a first novel. But, unlike some recent novels, The Bone People is never a case of style-over-substance; Hulme weaves her magic with both her engrossing story and her unique, almost stream-of-consciousness style. There are a lot of shifts in time and perspective in this novel but they are always smooth and perfectly placed. Nothing about The Bone People seems jarring or out-of-place. Hulme's prose is almost musical: andante, adagio, allegro, and we find ourselves reading to the cadence she sets.
The Bone People has an extraordinary and wonderful sense of place. Part of this is inherent in the New Zealand setting and the Maori words that decorate the text. The beach scenes are especially well-written and we can really smell the sea and feel the warmth of the sand between our toes.
A few things about The Bone People might seem disjointed at first.
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