The Burning River by Lawrence Patchett (Victoria University Press, 2019), 336 pp., $30
It seems to me that, when you break it down, in the final analysis every story ever told is all about identity. Take this book review for example: starting out with the best of intentions but somewhere along the line, you just wait and see. From McCahon’s I Am to Disneyland, the question is always ‘Ko wai ahau? Who am I?’
Well, guess what. Ko wai koe. Literally, ‘You are water.’
It’s all in the wai. You see that don’t you? Of course you do.
But more than that, this sweet little double entendre underscores the essential precept of tikanga, of the way things are. Tikanga says that we are inseparable from te ao, the physical world of life and light. The Burning River I think suggests that we are inseparable from each other, even when we don’t know it. [Read more…]