How Keri Hulme’s “The Bone People” changed the way we read now

Sarah Shaffi at the website of The Booker Prizes:

Joanna Lumley, one of the judges the year it won, found the book ‘indefensible’. Decades later, Booker winner Bernadine Evaristo declared it ‘one of my all-time favourite books’.

In the aftermath of Hulme’s death in late December 2021, Sarah Shaffi looks back at the outsider who broke through the British establishment, and who forged a new literary lineage from Maori mythology and European tradition.

The Bone People, said Norman St John Stevas in his speech as chair of the Booker Prize judges in 1985, ‘is a highly poetic book filled with striking imagery and insights… It seems to be about child battering, but is really about love. Is it all too disturbing or is it a winner?’

Telling the stories of artist in exile Kerewin, a speechless boy named Simon, and his foster father Joe, The Bone People is a story of love and violence that reckons with the clash between Māori and European cultures.

More here.