|Tev by Brendan Murray (Freemantle Arts Centre Press, 2002)|
Tev is half Tongan, half Australian and is almost fifteen. 'My parents call me Tev, usually, and Tevita when they're annoyed with me. There's been a lot of 'Tevita' lately.'
His parents believe he's been deceitful and so Tev has been sent home to Tonga, his mother's land, to straighten him out.
The book starts with his plane journey and meeting his uncle Maka and cousins at the airport. His stay with the family is difficult as he has to grapple with the culture and language. He finds love too and safe refuge for his companions during a cyclone.
I enjoyed the depiction of the funeral (I won't say who dies) and other cultural events in this book. Murray shows island life as it is: the squabbles, the joys and the unity.
The whole way through the book there are Tongan words and phrases with English translations following in brackets. I found this technique distracting. Many meanings could be understood from the context of the sentences and the glossary at the back served to help when meaning was lost. I also found Tevita's voice inconsistent. In the dialogue he sounded like a teenager, but a lot of his internal thoughts were those of an adult.
Overall the book is good light entertainment, but I didn't think Tev was a fully developed character. There was a lot of room for improvement.