Review: Mutuwhenua: The Moon Sleeps by Patricia Grace
Keeping with the theme of 2018, I read yet another item of New Zealand literature recently. Mutuwhenua: The Moon Sleeps by Patricia Grace is a brief but touching read. It's only 153 pages long, but every single one of those pages held an incredibly special, and educational, message.
I found this book in a Wellington second-hand book store, and as soon as I read on the back of the book that it was Patricia Grace's first novel, I decided it was coming back with me to Auckland. Described as being "about different types of love", Mutuwhenua: The Moon Sleeps follows Ripeka (aka Ngaio and Linda) through the evolution of her understanding her culture while being pulled and drawn into the Pakeha world.
Ripeka falls in love with a young Pakeha man, Graeme, and has to negotiate the way she experiences the world and how her family believes she needs to experience the world. She also has to cope with the physical impacts her decisions and where she resides have on her. It's a heart-wrenching read, and I truly believe it's a book that has opened many an eye to the differences in Maori culture and the way Pakeha live.
It's a deeply spiritual book and explains many traditions and beliefs throughout the narrative, while maintaining a beautiful flow, not interrupting the narrative of the story or the lessons it packages and presents.
This novel is simply a stunning read, and having been published back in 1978, I think it's an essential read for everyone in 2018. But get a copy of your own, because this one's not leaving my sight.