someday ill be in company of all....

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book review:The bone people by Keri Hulme

Title:The bone people
Author: Keri Hulme
Publisher: Penguin books
Pages: 553
Price: Rs 930
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Personal

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Kelwin Holmes is a painter and a loner, convinced that "to care for anything is to invite disaster"..Her isolation is disrupted one day when a six year old mute boy ,Simmon, breaks into her house..The sole survivor of a mysterious shipwreck, Simon has been adopted by Maori factory worker Joe who eventually loses his wife and his other son to flue...Joe is horribly brutal towards the boy..The novel reveals each character's thoughts and feelings as they struggle with the desire to connect and the fear of attachment...

I haven't often come across disturbing characters at a single go, but this one is so alluringly haunting , I had taken for granted that only memoir could be like this..Get the help of index in the book or else anything in Maori language and its culture would just go over the head..I found the dialogues and thoughts of  characters to be very confusing, many times I kept wondering what and where and how things were moving ahead..But that is Hulme's style, even through the strange confusions you don't really want to put down the book..Then slowly I started to  like this book then slowly it ebbed away and towards the end I didn't know if I really liked it or not..I have not come across many writers who develop such contagiously disturbing characters...Hulme puts the readers right into Joe's mind that you get the psychotic vibe on his physical abuse towards Simmon his mute son...The characters seem strange yet interesting.. Kerewin an artist with her self imposed exile living in a tower by the sea..Simon has his memory completely washed out and being mute is unable to express a thing, yet his expressions are poetically put forward to the readers...Joe is held by grief of losing his wife and son finds , to get away from it , he gets it undone on Simon who is all troubled son..In spite of his love he consistently abuses his son...I also liked the way Maori culture and myth were intertwined into the story, giving insights on New Zealand's local life and people....Violence and self annihilation somehow becomes the core of the novel...Joe almost beats Simmon to death when Simon grabs a piece of glass to attack Joe both end up in hospital alive..Kerewin, Simmon and Joe share a muddled up relationship yet they care for each other..I also loved the way Hulme had created a situation by which the relationship is forced upon them, yet they take it and live by it....I also liked the way Simmon's character was used to highlight and develop the characters of Kerewin and Joe and their internal struggle for identity and choice of life and living....Simmon at times had my sympathy., losing his family he only had Kerewin and Joe to be something close to a family....Simmon quite aggressive he beats up older children breaks up window of neighbours even when he was in a good mood, the mind of a troubled mute boy just striked in me...Even when Kerewin comes to Simmon's rescue by suggesting an alternative in dealing with him to Joe, she eventually gives up when her own treasured things are taken carelessly away by Simmon and her window broken...Though Kerewin's loneliness and lack of family and happiness are fulfilled to an extend through Joe and Simmon, still she is resolute to come in terms of the absence of it through her life and art....Hulme's use of tenses again was a bit confusing...Reading the novel was vexatious to an extend still I marveled at the Hulme..She leaves many question unanswered, and the climax is left undone.,to take it  positively or negatively is up to ones's own ..Though in my personal opinion I don't see a place where these three souls would fit in together, yet human behaviour is so complex and unfathomable at times that anything could happen....I wouldn't recommend it to someone who wants to sit and relax with a book...


  1. Superb review VB.

    You make this one sound so very interesting. I tend to like very flawed and very complex characters.

    The violence in this book might be a little disturbing however.

  2. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.


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