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Review: “The Parihaka Woman” by Witi Ihimaera

October 21, 2011

Witi Ihimaera’s twelfth novel is set in 1860, and continues Ihimaera’s engagement at the intersections of fiction, biography, autobiography and history.

Richly imaginative and original, weaving together fact and fiction, it sets the remarkable story of Erenora against the historical background of the turbulent and compelling events that occurred in Parihaka during the 1870s and 1880s.

Parihaka is the place Erenora calls home, a peaceful Taranaki settlement overcome by war and land confiscation. As her world is threatened, Erenora must find within herself the strength, courage and ingenuity to protect those whom she loves. And, like a Shakespearean heroine, she must change herself before she can take up her greatest challenge and save her exiled husband, Horitana.

Surprising, inventive and deeply moving, The Parihaka Woman confirms Witi Ihimaera as one of New Zealand’s finest and most memorable storytellers.

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