The powerful, visionary, Booker Award–winning novel about the complicated relationships between three outcasts of mixed European and Maori heritage
“This book is just amazingly, wondrously great.” —Alice Walker
In a tower on the New Zealand sea lives Kerewin Holmes: part Maori, part European, asexual and aromantic, 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 indigenous 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.
The Penguin Ink Series
For seventy-five years, Penguin has paired the best in literature with the best in graphic design. In celebration of our anniversary, a selection of Penguin’s most distinctive contemporary books now features covers specially designed by the world’s top illustrative artists.
About the Author
Keri Hulme, a Maori, grew up in Christchurch and Moeraki, New Zealand. She writes, paints, and whitebaits in Okarito, Westland. Hulme has written poems and short stories; The Bone People, originally published by Spiral, a New Zealand feminist collective, is her first novel. She has also written Te Zaihau: The Windeater.
Pepa Heller (illustrator) has been a professional tattoo artist since 1996. The owner of Bohemian Tattoo Arts in Tauranga, New Zealand, he draws inspiration from Maori and Pacific styles.
“An original, overwhelming, near-great work of literature.” —The Washington Post
“Unforgettably rich and pungent.” —The New York Times Book Review