A New Zealand classic, this novel is a raw and powerful portrayal of Maori in New Zealand society. Alan Duff's groundbreaking first novel is one of the most talked-about books ever published in New Zealand and is now the basis of a major New Zealand film. This hard hitting story is a frank and uncompromising portrait in which everyone is a victim, ...
A New Zealand classic, this novel is a raw and powerful portrayal of Maori in New Zealand society. Alan Duff's groundbreaking first novel is one of the most talked-about books ever published in New Zealand and is now the basis of a major New Zealand film. This hard hitting story is a frank and uncompromising portrait in which everyone is a victim, until the strength and vision of one woman transcends brutality and leads the way to a new life.
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Publishers Weekly, 1994-06-27 Part of Hawaii's TalanoaContemporary Pacific Literature imprint, this first novel won the 1991 PEN Best First Book Award amid controversy over Duff's perceived condemnation of Maori society as largely responsible for the hopelessness plaguing its communities. In a Maori ghetto of urban New Zealand, Jake and Beth Heke battle entrenched poverty, racism and other ills that overwhelm their traditional Maori culture. With a gritty, realistic eye, Duff portrays Jake and Beth, who because of alcoholism, abuse and poverty can provide little protection against the gangs, drugs and violence that menace their children. Most vulnerable is Grace who dreams of escape into the Pakeha (white) world and whose brutal rape triggers the downward spiral of events. Duff's choppy sentences, repeated phrasing and use of Maori slang may require some adjustment for American readers, but ultimately his staccato prose style is ideally suited to a world of not-so-quiet desperation. Regardless of one's position on the controversy, the half Pakeha /half Maori Duff provides a compelling and insightful glimpse into the overwhelming struggles faced by the disenfranchised poor of any urban society--including America's own inner cities. (July)
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