Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Windeater Keri Hulme

I'm reposting this review from a couple of years ago when no-one read this blog. It's a wonderful book and I wanted to recommend it to more people! This is a collection of experimental short stories from the New Zealand author of The Bone People. The stories are full of Keri Hulme's sense of the beauty of New Zealand, along with her awareness of human alienation from the environment. From the environmental point of view, the story that most stood out for me was:

One Whale Singing - a pregnant woman in a boat, a pregnant whale in the water. The woman argues with her pompous partner about whether humans are really superior to other creatures. She feels that our ability to make artifacts, rather than indicating superior intellectual abilities, in fact demonstrates our inferiority, our lack of a real ecological niche, our total alienation from nature. Meanwhile the whale is having a wonderful time, in total harmony with the waters around her.

All these stories are beautifully written, with real insight and awareness. They are also very thought provoking and refuse to give the reader the satisfaction of a real conclusion, which reflects life.

8 comments:

Thomma Lyn said...

I've heard great things about Keri Hulme, and I want to check out her work. "One Whale Singing" sounds like a delight.

Rabbits' Guy said...

That one I'll have to find!

There are several pods of Orca whales around here. Some are locals, "residents", and others are "transients". There are quite a few hydrophones deployed underwater in the areas often frequented and the hydrophones transmit to the Internet continuously. Many people can recognize individual whales from the sounds.

Cathy said...

I will have to see if I can get some of Keri Hulme's work. I read a precis about The Bone People on the Internet and it sounds pretty powerful stuff. It is interesting that her book was turned down by several publishing houses before eventually being accepted. One Whale Singing sounds like a wonderful read.

Gillena Cox said...

love the lil anecdote, a lil bit of humour and a serious message made me reflect on an e-mail sent to me with food jokes and this one in particular i liked it said if swimming is good exercise and good for the figure explain whales in the ocean

much love
gillena

SzélsőFa said...

i think i should read this book. from what is revealed here in this short review, the book reminds me to marlo morgan's mutant message.

Christina said...

Superior to other creatures? Yeah, not so much. I will have to check this out too. I always enjoy your blog so much.

happily retired gal said...

Thanks for the recommendation and the reminder of posts we might choose to 'revisit' for the same reasons ;-)
Hugs and blessings,

Andrakta said...

Just recently rediscovered Hulme twenty-five years since The Bone People and was reminded what a great writer she is. I haven't ready The Windeater - my discovery was Stonefish - a great collection of stories and poems.