. . . a rich, powerful, multi-layered and totally unique story that leaves us with such a strong sense of what it means firstly to be Maori; and secondly, to be Maori growing up in a Pakeha world. For this reason, it is something every New Zealander should read. What comes through is a strong sense of identity and to know Witi is to know his whakapapa and also our country.
I loved this book. The ancestors and the no-so-distant relations, and the immediate family members are all brought to vivid life by this master of storytelling. Witi Ihimaera has created an amazing work . . . The story of his whanau and the challenges, anguish, love and pain that they experienced are written about in such a way as to make you stop and think. Seriously. And for quite a long time. . . . This is a wonderful skill – to be able to give life to figures long dead, and Witi Ihimaera has it in spades. . . . We can depend on Witi Ihimaera to write about life, love, history, tipuna, turangawaewae and more in a way that all New Zealanders, Maori or Pakeha, can identify with, rejoice in and share.
Sue Esterman, booksellersnz.wordpress
In both its content and its form the book provides a rare experience of a culture that the Anglo-American literary tradition does not know. As a bonus, it offers to anyone who knows Ihimaera's fiction the pleasure of recognising characters, motifs and even entire scenes that appear in such novels as The Matriarch, The Dream Swimmer, The Uncle's Story, Bulibasha and The Whale Rider, and in some short stories.
Lawrence Jones, Otago Daily Times