Jen Crawford


The child under threat is a prominent feature of New Zealand literature; in the last twenty years of the twentieth century, a number of novels moved beyond the bounds of realism in exploring the struggles of this figure. Witi Ihimaera’s The Matriarch (1986) and its sequel The Dream Swimmer (1997), and Patricia Grace’s novels Cousins (1992) and Baby No-Eyes (1998) are among those that feature such exploration; their child characters are defined in relation to liminal or void states that manifest a specifically Maori metaphysics: Te Kore, in Ihimaera’s novels, and the wheiao in Grace’s.



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