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The Bone People [Paperback]

Keri Hulme
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 18.04 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful must read! April 14 2002
By Ms Diva
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Maori Mysticism Nov. 3 2000
By A Customer
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book haunts me in the best way. Aug. 2 2000
Extremely rich, deep and dark and fulfilling. The style is, for me, reminiscent of Kesey (one of my all-time favorite authors), lots of shifts in perspectives, jumps in time, and yet always clear and narrative. But this story is so far beyond style. It's violent and beautiful, full of the deepest contradictions that make us human. I've never read a clearer depiction of how love and violence and need can be so wrapped up together. And I was far from disappointed by the ending. The 'redemption' of Kerewin and Joe mirrors my own personal experience - one has to let go, all the way, even unto death, in order to begin living fully. The journey rings true for me, even if their transcendence is perhaps too 'magical' for belief. But I love the magic, too. In following this book down such dark paths, I was grateful to have light shining at the end, a hope, a faith that transcendence is possible. Thank you, Keri, for this marvelous work. You inspire.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars rapid descent into New Age gibberish Oct. 5 1999
I feel compelled to rescue any readers from the misleading plethora of 5 star ratings below. The first two thirds of this book are good (not great). The characters are intriguing, in part because of the exotic small town New Zealand locale, and the plot unfolds in a meandering pattern that leads the reader on while flirting with frustrating said reader.
The last third of this book is absurdly bad in all senses. The plot becomes a ridiculous New-Age-tussle-with-cancer story. The style becomes a really horrible attempt at magic realism. The prose loses all discipline (and it never had much) and turns into some undergraduate writing seminar exercise in the use of the tangled metaphor coupled with the pointlessly histrionic use of adverbs and adjectives. Help! I only finished it because I'm stubborn. That this book won any kind of prize is a crime.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting May 10 2002
By Laura
A true piece of artwork. On the edition I have one of the comments from reviewers calles Hulme a poet, I couldn't agree more.
The short pieces of Maori languge through the book confused me at first but I do feel that they add something very personal to the feeling of the book (they are translated at the back of the book, although you don't really need to fully understand them).
After the fith reading of 'The Bone People' I can easily say this is my favorite book.
Don't get this book out of the library - you really have to buy it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written book and compelling story
I had originally read this as a library book. Liked it so much I had to buy it. My favorite author is Tim Winton and Keri Hulme's work is now just behind him. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Island Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read
This was the most haunting book I have ever read. The characters became so real that they returned to my thoughts for months after I had completed reading. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2005
2.0 out of 5 stars An editor's nightmare
The Bone People, unfortunately, is not very well written. The "poetry" seems to consist of run-on sentences and a somewhat pretentious neo-primtivism. Read more
Published on March 16 2004 by Victor Cresskill
4.0 out of 5 stars Dead or Not?!?
I enjoyed this book. It made me laugh a lot. Our main character is a funny, irreverant gal with deep problems. Read more
Published on March 6 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Left empty and confused
Blech! It's as though Keri Hulme transcribed a hazily remembered dream/nightmare. So much was utterly foreign and the author was no help at all, so concerned with melding prose... Read more
Published on May 7 2002 by Pherenike
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bone People
Kerein, Joe and Simon are the stars of The Bone People. The Maori tradition and way of life in New Zealand is slowpaced. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is like an old friend
This is the kind of book for one who likes to read.I have read it 4 times over the past 10 years and I get new things out of it each time I read it.
Published on Feb. 18 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Harrowing
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... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2001 by booknblueslady
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite amazing.
I bought this book while visiting New Zealand on the recommendation of a friend who had never actually read any of Hulme's work. Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2001 by Ellen C. Falkenberry
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bone People
A uniquely told and emotionally engaging story about a man, a woman, and a child, all with very different voices and perspectives, that is narrated, in turn, in each of the three... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2001 by mizpah
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