Artists play a significant role in processes of cultural transformation by revealing both the restrictive limitations of their culture and how these may be transcended through imagining the barely imaginable. This paper considers two novels which examine issues of race and national identity in a post-colonial context, drawing on myth to evoke possibilities and difficulties of reconciliation. Keri Hulme's The Bone People (1984) explores Maori/Pakeha relationships in New Zealand, while Peter H0eg's Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow (1992) looks at the situation of Greenlanders living in Denmark and that country's relation to its former colony, incorporated as a province in 1953, with a system of home rule instituted under the crown in_1979. Each novel has been widely acclaimed in its own country and beyond. The Bone People won the Booker prize in 1986 and Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow has achieved best-seller status in translation and been made into a film directed by Billie August. Both books focus on an abused child together with a man and woman who, although not related to him by blood, assume or have thrust on them, the role of parent figures.
Jones, Dorothy, Post-colonial Families Reconfigured: a Discussion of The Bone People and Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow, Kunapipi, 19(2), 1997.