Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to a violent home .But Ārama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow. As long as there’s aroha to give and stories to tell and a good supply of plasters.
About the Author
Becky Manawatu (Ngāi Tahu) was born in Nelson, raised in Waimangaroa and has returned there to live with her family, working as a reporter for The News in Westport. Becky’s short story ‘Abalone’ was long-listed for the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, her essay ‘Mothers Day’ was selected for the Landfall anthology Strong Words. Auē is her first novel.
A powerful and moving read. Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand
Auē is an authentic and evocative contemporary debut novel by author Becky Manawatu (Ngāi Tahu), set in Aotearoa New Zealand and exploring themes of family, colonisation, violence and redemption. The “Auē” of the title means “to cry, howl, moan” and is also an expression of hurt, distress and astonishment.
Eight-year-old Ārama is left to live with his aunt and uncle in an atmosphere of tension and fear where friendships become a lifeline. Older brother Taukiri strikes out alone, unable to stop looking back while searching for a new life in the city away from his family. The children speak for themselves, but we learn more about their origins through the love story of Jade and Toko. Lovers from very different backgrounds, their worlds move together before colliding, while a restless spirit observes and mourns the living and the dead.
Manawatu’s intensely personal narrative tells the story of a family fractured by violence and marginalisation, but still hopeful of finding a place they can stand together. Her writing is raw, memorable, immersive and utterly transporting. She skillfully weaves together different voices across time, place and space, alternatively pulling her characters in close and violently tearing them apart. Integrating te ao Māori (the Māori world view), elements of nature – the sea, river, winds and birds – bring change and connection, for worse and for better. Auē is a compelling, confronting and unforgettable story of family trauma and redemption that loves with a fierce heart. Auckland Libraries, New Zealand