Auē is about the struggles to escape a life of violence
✚ “A young man called Tauriki decides to undertake a quest to locate his birth mother. Responsible for his orphaned half brother Ārama, he entrusts the boy’s care to an aunt and uncle. But it is a home where violence and fear are rife. Interspersed with the two brothers’ stories are the voices of their parents, telling their stories from years earlier where gang life was their every day.
“It goes without saying there is a lot of violence in this novel. It is sometimes so unbearable it’s hard to look at the words. But such violence has and does exist. Some people succumb to what is ingrained in them and some fight their way out. The author dedicated the book to a family member who was brutally murdered. Knowing this makes the novel’s violence important. We need to know so we can unite against it. Manawatu does this with a strong thematic sense of redemption and whakapapa.
“And that’s what kept me reading – the beautiful characters and their poignant stories. Their friendships and their hopes were a reprieve to the horrors. They, infact, had me so entranced I polished the book off in a very short space of time.
“There are a lot of neat and tidy conclusions in the final chapters which seemed more blockbuster than literary but overall I did really enjoy the raw emotion being poured onto the pages.” – Rachel