About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mutuwhenua by Patricia Grace

Mutuwhenua (Penguin, 1978)
Mutuwhenua is a Maori word that refers to the new moon or when the moon is sleeping. This novel is a kiwi classic because it was the first ever published novel by a Maori woman way back in 1978. It tells the story of Maori woman Ripeka who leaves her extended family to marry Graeme, a Pakeha schoolteacher. Central to the book is the belonging Ripeka feels for the land where she grew up and the sense that she can't be torn from it.
   Mutuwhenua is a thin volume but the writing packs a punch. Patricia Grace has a sparse style particularly with her use of dialogue which conveys pent up emotion well. The book is easy to read and the plot is simple. Poor Ripeka begins to wither away from her ancestral home. Her despair and confusion are well drawn and I must admit to crying several times whilst I read it.
   This book is a good one for PSSC students, the length, easy prose and setting all come together to make a great 'island 'story for students learning English.

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