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.