Title Profile & Character Information

The Bone People

Annotation
In a tower on the New Zealand sea lives Kerewin Holmes, part Maori, part European, an artist estranged from her art, a woman in exile from her family. One night her solitude is disrupted by a visitor—a speechless, mercurial boy named Simon, who tries to steal from her and then repays her with his most precious possession. As Kerewin succumbs to Simon's feral charm, she also falls under the spell of his Maori foster father Joe, who rescued the boy from a shipwreck and now treats him with an unsettling mixture of tenderness and brutality. Out of this unorthodox trinity Keri Hulme has created what is at once a mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, clash, and sometimes merge.

Winner of both a Booker Prize and Pegasus Prize for Literature, The Bone People is a work of unfettered wordplay and mesmerizing emotional complexity.



Awards
1985  Man Booker Prize for Fiction


Author Notes
  Keri Hulme is of Maori, Scotish, and English ancestry and grew up in Christchurch and Moeraki, New Zealand
Characters
NameHolmes, Kerewin
GenderFemale
OccupationArtist
TraitRecluse

NameSimon
GenderMale
TraitsOrphan
Mute
Abused

NameGillayley, Joe
GenderMale
OccupationFactory worker
TraitsMaori
Widower
Foster father
Abusive

GenreFiction
Love story
Mystery
Psychological
Sociological
TopicsIndigenous peoples
Cultural differences
Maori culture
Tradition
Heritage
Identity
Loss
Alienation
Social isolation
Child abuse
Spiritual journeys
Emotional healing
SettingSouth Island
Seaside