By: Becky Manawatu

Location: FIC Man

Genre: Fiction, Aotearoa, Death

“The best book of 2019 – and it really is immense, a deep and powerful work, maybe even the most successfully achieved portrayal of underclass New Zealand life since Once Were Warriors“—Steve Braunias, Newsroom

“Auē is not just the story of two boys, it is the story of a family, people who are born into it and those who become part of it. We travel through past and present, lives come together and are held together by strands of pain, cruelty, hardship, brutality, music and love. Throughout is the image of birds, some broken and battered, some who manage to fly. Some who sing. The writer knows exactly what she’s doing and takes us with her. I could not stop reading.” —Renée

Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to a violent home.

But Ārama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow. As long as there’s aroha to give and stories to tell and a good supply of plasters.

Here is a novel that is both raw and sublime, a compelling new voice in New Zealand fiction. 

"This book has created an ache in my chest that I’ll carry with me for a long time. It is awful in such a way that it is brilliant, sentences so visceral my breath would stop.
It is triumphant too - the spades of sorrow matched by spades of hope.

I have thought long and hard and deeply about my family and my culture and my country and whether it’s possible for people to be right or wrong if they are just doing the best with the tools and the lives they were given.

I have written down lines that made me pause my reading because they were so real or beautiful or accurate or funny or heartbreaking.

How grateful I am for my life and how grateful I am to have read this. Kayla- Goodreads


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