The Read Around The World Book Club discussion

May 2018 - New Zealand > Chapter 21 to the end

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message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Final thoughts

message 2: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 51 comments I've finished the book yesterday and I really enjoyed it. Although the number of names and people and family relations was sometimes a bit confusing, the story was very engaging and I very much liked the writing style.

message 3: by Kathrin (new)

Kathrin I thought this was an excellent pick for the month! Once I got most of the characters straight, I was really sucked into the story. It was interesting and I enjoyed the writing. There were some real wisdom nuggets for sure especially towards the end. The set-up of the story didn't make much sense to me, but it also didn't bother me. The only thing that it might be good for is to make another book out of it with Daniel's research in Japan... I am kind of hoping for that. :-)

message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily I really enjoyed this read. I thought Patricia Grace's writing was beautiful and I found the story very interesting. Being a New Zealander I thought I had a fairly good understanding of Maori culture, but I definitely learnt a few new things and am keen to learn a lot more about Maori history and urbanisation. The ending really touched me especially the part about turangawaewae. Finding out about my family history to have a better understanding of myself is something that is very important to me. I will be adding more Patricia Grace books to my TBR.

message 5: by Stacey (new)

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments Well, this is my least favorite book so far, that I’ve read with the group. Like Katherine, I had a hard time keeping the names/family connections straight. The writing was good but the plot fell flat for me with no real peaks, valleys or climax. However, I did enjoy hearing about New Zealand, and the Maori culture.

message 6: by Heather (new)

Heather (heyther) | 1 comments Chappy was my first introduction to Patricia Grace’s work and I enjoyed it, largely because of the ways she explores questions of land, translation, and indigenity. I was surprised, but shouldn’t have been, to learn about parallels between New Zealand and Canadian history. The experience of language suppression through punitive school practices and the disruption of war time internment camps are echoed in the Canadian context. Parts of the novel felt flat for me and I suspect that’s connected to the structure. I think the strength of the novel lies in Grace’s rooting of identity in the experience of land, language, and extended kinship structures.

message 7: by Marie (new)

Marie (marieemonaghan) | 59 comments Heather wrote: "I think the strength of the novel lies in Grace’s rooting of identity in the experience of land, language, and extended kinship structures. "

I very much agree with this, Heather. There was such a strong sense of place throughout this novel. The discussion of Maori culture and identity was very absorbing. I also appreciated the way in which she illustrated the impact of war on Pacific communities. I have been left wanting to read more widely about this place and time.

For me, the book was lacking when it came to characterisation. The voices of Aki and Oriwia were indistinct. I found myself unconvinced by characters' behaviours and uncertain of their motives. I appreciate that Chappy was intended to be something of an enigma, but I never really understood what it was about him that made these people take to him instantly and welcome him so whole-heartedly into their family (because he was a hard worker? because he made nice baskets? his deeper personality traits and values seemed sketchy, to me). I would've liked more detail about the other relationships, too. What did Aki and Oriwia mean to each other? Why did Oriwia take so strongly against the Hawaiians? How did Daniel begin to forge such bonds with two elderly Maori relatives he'd barely ever met?

message 8: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
I really liked this book. Any book that deals with the meaning of home, belonging, language, outsiders in a community etc. I shall be reading more by this author.

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