A magical story with feminist overtones Human interactions with creatures from the sea have been documented for centuries and in many cultures for example Pliny s story of the boy and the dolphin and in this story from the Maaori community in New Zealand we see how the girl, rejected as potential leader material by her grandfather simply because she is not male, achieves something which grown men can only dream of, and which links her, and her community, with her Austronesian roots I don t want to give too much detail, lest it spoil the story for you but I can really recommend this little book I couldn t put it down, and finished it in one evening The one thing which the book did not do quite so well was to give translations of every one of the Maaori words and sentences encountered in the book but this did not diminish its charm. The classic book that inspired the award winning, internationally released film Whale Rider, winner of Best Film at theSundance Film Festival andAcademy Awards Best Actress nomination for Keisha Castle Hughes Eight year old Kahu craves her great grandfather s love and attention But he s focused in his duties as Chief, in a tribe that claims decent from the legendary whale rider A male has always inherited the title of Chief, but now there is no male heir There s only Kahu, and her great grandfather sees no use for a girl Kahu will not be ignored And in her struggle she has a unique ally the whale rider himself Written in 1987, THE WHALE RIDER is a deceptively short book Only 120 pages long, it s a richly layered story dealing with several major social issues family relationships, gender discrimination, generational differences, racial prejudice, loss of the cultural identity of indigenous tribes, ecological conservationism and modern man s disconnection from his spiritual self.Kahu is a young Maori girl who, from the moment of her birth, had a deep connection with her great grandfather Koro Apirana, a powerful Maori Chieftan Custodian of his people s indigenous culture, Koro searches desperately for his successor a boy who, for the good of all his people, will value and understand the ancient Maori traditions as much as Koro does Kahu s uncle Rawiri, who narrates most of the story, and her great grandmother Nanni Flowers, see in Kahu s spirit that which Koro seeks the soul of the future Chieftan who will lead the Maoris of Whangara into the 21st century But Kahu is a girl and, in Maori tradition, only men can perform the sacred traditions that keep the Maori people blessed of their gods and their ancestors.From the delightfully subversive feminist Nanni Flowers to good guy Rawiri who, along with a diverse group of people tried desperately to save 200 beached whales one of the several scenes in the book which had me sobbing out loud , to the serene, compassionate and otherworldly Kahu, the story is filled with remarkable characters These include the Old Whale, an ancient sea creature that has survived for centuries to ensure that Kahu meets her destiny of ensuring that the sacred Maori traditions shall live on into the new century.The lyrical, almost magical, descriptions of the herd of whales journeys through the depths of the great oceans contrast beautifully with Rawiri s simple, down to earth narrative The boneless, weightless feel of the writing in the whale scenes recreate both a transcendent spiritual state and the sensation of swimming underwater From the comical rendition of the constant bickering of Koro Apirana and his wife Nanni Flowers, to the well of emotion that has him spontaneously performing the haka to support Kahu at her school prize giving, Rawiri s gentle perceptions of his extended Maori family reveal the deep bonds of love and culture holding them together Family, he says to his white friend Jeff, is Family Some of the Maori terms were, at times, confusing and the edition I read did not have a glossary of Maori terms, which would have been useful.This lack, however, did not detract from the lush splendour of THE WHALE RIDER, a beautiful story of hope and promise. I really liked this book I d seen the film and wanted to go to the original source and read the book The film had changed the story slightly as most film adaptations do and I was a little concerned that this might spoil my enjoyment of the book as I loved the film I needn t have worried the book is beautiful I particularly enjoyed the occasional poetic sections which added a new dimension to my understanding of the story The book is incredibly well written and Witi Ihimaera is very economical with the words each word has weight and so the book is relatively short I read it over three sessions and enjoyed it tremendously. An unexpected gem with a unique combination of cultural background on Maori tradition, Maori myth, modern fairy tale and many is what The Whale Rider turned out to be for me There was not much I had knowingly perceived about New Zealand, so when a book club challenge came along to read such a small book of only 144 pages what might I lose And that decision was made despite some profound aversion of mine to anything getting even close to fantasy fiction.The story does include lots of myth along with lots of mythological elements which I rather really liked I can go with myth, to me that has nothing to do with fantasy, I just mention as some readers might have different no go areas And 144 pages turned out to be no small task to read in this context simply because the whole story is so rich I felt compelled to stop reading many times, literally stand back and consider No wonder the book is often read at schools given the broad variety of tasks for interpretation on various levels Still, even for the grown up reader, those tasks come easily, rather force themselves upon you while reading the story is about gender and family roles, traditions vs modern life cultural differences, clashes, prejudice and expectations personal integrity and roots family, society and individuals The language is rich, but not hard to decipher like when the mythological founder Kahutia throws his spears which represent his live giving sources or the heart wrenching comment that Under these conditions, the love which Kahu received from her grandfather Koro Apirana was the sort that dropped off the edge of the table, like breadcrumbs after everybody else has had a big meal P 36f.There is a constant change between first person narrator little Kahu s uncle telling her story and the third person usage for the portions of myth and about the whales which, again, demands for consideration about parallels and symbols in a very tantalising way Author Witi Ihimaera uses Maori language in abundance the translation follows in the next sentence I had not been sure at first, so I checked some phrases This and the proper names force the non Maori experienced reader to both plunge into the culture and keeps the concentration high to not get lost so in a whole, I ended up having been given the rare experience of interpreting myself through the text without that back to school feeling of having been forced to do it, the immersion comes rather natural Go with the waves Let it be done Im Rahmen meines Studiums sollte ich das Buch lesen eine sehr sch ne Geschichte, ber ein junges M dchen, das sich gegen die Tradition des Volkes als ebenb rtige Nachfolgerin beweisen m chte.Diese Version ist sehr einfach zu lesen, da das urspr nglich sehr pr sente Maori ersetzt oder bersetzt ist und daher den Lesefluss wenig beeintr chtigt.Definitv eine gute Version f r Sch ler, da es sehr einfach versr ndlich ist I watched the movie before reading the book, but I did have questions after watching I purchased the book in order to get a comprehensive understanding of the background to the story, and the Maori people I can say that this book has opened my eyes to a culture that is new to me, and so rich in history ancestry It s not a long read, but is a very well told story das beweist Witi Ihimaera mit seiner wundersch n geschriebenen, nur knapp 170 Seiten langen Geschichte The Whale Rider.Und mit wundersch n geschrieben meine ich auch wundersch n geschrieben Witi Ihimaera schreibt ber das junge Maori M dchen Kahu, deren Bestimmung es ist, die n chste Anf hrerin ihres Stammes zu werden doch waren das bisher stets nur M nner, und ihr traditionsbewusster Urgro vater, der letzte Stammesf hrer, will von ihrer angebliche Bestimmung nichts h ren wird Kahu trotzdem seinen Respekt gewinnen und ihr Schicksal erf llen Eine Geschichte zwischen Gegenwart und Vergangenheit, Geschichte und Mythologie, reich gespickt mit vielen W rtern und Phrasen aus der Sprache der Maori Einfach wundersch n, ohne jede Effekthascherei, gelingt Ihimaera der schwierige Spagat, der n tig ist, um alle Grenzen von Raum und Zeit in dieser Geschichte aufzuheben was wesentlich dabei hilft, das Leben und das Leid der Maori besser zu verstehen. Il libro tratta la storia di un villaggio Maori che a causa della perdita dei valori tradizionali dovuta alla forte insistenza e arroganza dei valori occidentali del colonizzatore, vede come segno nefasto la morte di oltre 200 balene sulla spiaggia del villaggio una bambina che sfida l ordine omofobo e della linea di sangue maschile, riuscir a mettere in salvo il suo popolo da leggere una bella favola moderna e antica. I absolutely LOVED the movie, so I thought I d read the book and I wasn t disappointed, but I don t think it added a lot to what I already felt for the story It was a really good adaptation, so the book was just a re visit for me.