Keri Hulme: The Bone People

(2688 words)

Following the book’s award of the “Pegasus Prize for Maori Literature”, C.K. Stead notoriously stated: “The Bone People is a novel by a Pakehah which has won an award intended for a Maori” (Stead, 1985: 104). Arguably, however, Keri Hulme’s achievement in this Booker prizewinning novel is in unsettling such clear and oppositional distinctions of race. As Stead also understood, in her tale of three characters trying to overcome their painful memories, Hulme centralizes human conditions that cut across man-made boundaries: “It is about love and identity. The love and the violence have a common source” (Stead, 104). Hulme eradicates notions of any racial homogeneity, since all three …

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Dowson, Jane. "The Bone People". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 January 2014
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]

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