After the death of both parents, Kauri and Black must find a way to survive in a world that doesn’t care much about them. Kauri embarks on a journey into his father’s past, to come to terms with the trauma he’s experienced in his short life, and to break the cycle of violence he fears perpetuating as he raises his younger brother.
The Bone Tree is a gritty coming of age novel, where the unforgettable young protagonist faces immense challenges, and the stakes are life or death – yet it also has a lyrical beauty, and a powerful message of love at its heart.
It gives voice to characters who are on the margins of society, raised in poverty, and who have a deep mistrust in the systems that are meant to protect them – and it considers the question of how we can best protect the ones we love.
Imprint: Moa Press
Publication date: 08/08/2023
The Bone Tree
by Airana Ngarewa
Review by Māia
The Bone Tree is a personal tale of grief, institutional brutality and generational violence told with humour and tenderness. As two brothers navigate the recent loss of their mother while caring for their volatile father, Kauri, the eldest, must confront his increasingly distressing reality and uncover the mystery of his parents’ past. Kauri is an unforgettable and deeply affecting character, both afraid and determined to heal the wounds of his past. His instinctive yet reluctant connection to his whakapapa guides him in unsuspecting ways as he ventures into the city and bridges lost whānau connections. Ngarewa’s writing is sensory and atmospheric, giving attention to moments of humanity in bleak and divisive circumstances. Kauri’s innocent experience of a brutal world makes The Bone Tree a painful but important read. For fans of Once Were Warriors, Better the Blood and Auē.