Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:
Also, consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for The Bone People:
1. Isolation is a the major motif in this work. Consider the way in which each of the three main characters—Keri, Simon, and Joe—are isolated from the outside world. What is the cause of each character's isolation?
2. Consider Keri:
3. Consider Simon:
4. Consider Joe:
5. How would you describe the relationships of the three main characters...
Why are these people drawn to one another? What do they want from each other?
6. Art plays an important role in this work.
What is the significance of Keri's art?
7. Discuss the horrific scene in which Joe pummels Simon and Simon wounds Joe with the piece of glass. Who bears responsibility for that abuse? What role, for instance, does Keri play? Was it right to remove Simon from Joe's wardship?
8. The antidote to isolation (see question #1) is community and family. In what ways do Keri, Simon, and Joe each find acceptance in community at the end of the novel? How are each healed in the end?
9. What role does Maori mythology play in this story and how does it lead to healing and return to community of the three?
10. What is the significance of the book's title—as it relates to Maori art and culture, as well as to the three main characters, who are, figuratively, stripped to the bone?
11. What does this novel suggest about the New Zealand-based European culture and the indigenous Maori/Pakeha cultures? In what way do they conflict with one another...and in what way might those cultures be united? Is the book hopeful or pessimistic that there could be a potential for common ground?
12. Did you find the poetry and digressions into myth difficult to follow and excessive...or did you see them as an artistic and integral part of the plot? (Critics fall on either side of the question—so this is subjective, in other words, it's based on your opinion.)
13. Is the ending satisfying? What do you see as the future for the three characters—Keri, Simon, and Joe?
(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)
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