Read What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? by Alan Duff Free Online
Book Title: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?|
The author of the book: Alan Duff
Date of issue: June 5th 1997
ISBN 13: 9780099760818
City - Country: No data
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Reader ratings: 3.1
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 8.73 MB
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Alan Duff's follow up to Once Were Warriors follows a carefuly crafted redemption arc. It's a novel largely set within the realm of reflection, rumination, slow-burning realization and eventual exoneration. The first half of the novel is dominated by interior monologue, some of which rivals anything which can be found in the precursor novel. It is a highly worthwhile read and a worthy sequel to Once Were Warriors. It's truly a shame that the film sequel was such a mismatched, half-baked affair (albeit with some good moments.).
We spend the majority of our time once again with Jake Heke, as we see him transform from the fist-happy cock of the block in a miserable small-town into a middle-aged man who is humbled by life itself and the challenges it inevitably confronts him with. Jake's anger remains well intact but hard times have forced him to come to terms with his own sense of responsibility. The lucidity and unflinchingness with which Duff captures his day to day stream of consciousness is a quality I personally haven't found with many other writers - Irvine Welsh being one comparisson. The language is frequently colloquial, brutal, deeply insightful and occasionally hilarious. Duff serves Jake a suitably restrained kind of redemption arc, which hinges itself upon his relationship with the Douglas brothers and with Rita, the former teaching him how to deal with masculinity on far less toxic terms and the latter giving him a far better understanding of how to treat a woman. I honestly just thought that Duff handled Jake's character development so well. How he managed to use such a limited palette of language to detail such complex emotional trauma and the challenge of growing through it. Of course, it's very difficult to forgive Jake, if you're to view things as objectively as possible, but Duff makes such a compelling, humanistic case for Jake's emotional under-developement and ultimately, the genuine bravery, with which he confronts life's challenges in order to improve himself. Things remain far from perfect, and while I've used the term several times already, 'redemptive arc' may even be far too generous of a word. Jake is forced to grow and surmount issues hes spent his life running away from. Things might be far from perfect but there's an utterly believable insinuation that efforts being made to improve oneself will in one form or another, yield positive change.
On the other hand, we see relatively less of Beth Heke which is of course a shame but I think ultimately a wise move in terms of how to write this story. Beth has transcended her circumstances through her relationship with a kindly welfare officer Mr Bennett. The Heke family is in an altogether brighter place, despite the immense sadness surrounding her deceased children. Her relatively brief female perspective has some excellent moments, showing the complexity and intelligence with which she deals with her deep resentment and regret. Beth Heke's mind is still reeling with a violent clash of emotions, but she still has the clarity to recognize how her life has improved and how that has happened. Beth realizes the dark shadow of regrettable actions and the impact it leaves behind.
We're also introduced to the now older Heke children who barely featured a cameo in the previous novel. If I'm perfectly honest, I think that Nig and Abe prove to be the weakest characters in this series of books. The only thing we seem to learn from Abe over the course of this book is that he has become a slightly more wary gang affiliate. There are some moving passages where he remembers his sister Grace but overall Abe just doesn't seem to be a fully defined character. He's more like a prototype for a better human being. At certain points I feel that Abe's narrative meanders, his narrative only being redeemed by his very understated reunion with Jake.
Polly Heke on the other hand, proves to be a more interesting character. Still attached to her father enough that she spies on him with his new partner, Polly again suffers some of the lack of definition which Abe does but her scene upon returning to the tree where Grace hung herself is unforgettable.
New characters include perspectives from the wealthy Trambert family. These were some of the highlights for me, detailing the malaise and depression which can accompany the middle-aged bourgeoisie. Mrs Trambert's naked contempt and disgust towards her own son and husband is handled very well through her interior monologue, scathing and maudlin as it may be. Her own recall of Grace's suicide is again, thoroughly powerful writing. Mr Trambert's crumbling business ventures are marauded over generously poured glasses of gin and the future prospect of selling chicken pieces for a living. The great game of rugby is one of his few salavations, and Jake's humbling through the game itself reveals truths about why this game is so popularized as an outlet for masculine rage and despair in this country.
Yet another new chracter, Mulla Rota, a recently released inmate and now embittered member of the Brown Fists is another interesting addition. His relationship with a single-mother, Gloria, and flirtation with the idea of putting down money on a deposit for a house, is yet another example of Duff's apparent understanding of socio-economic issues and barriers in our society. These characters want change and yet have still failed to fully come to terms with the responsibility that involves. It's a bittersweet (mostly bitter) portrait of a brighter future which is cruelly just beyond their reach.
While the impenetrably dark heart of Once Were Warriors is still present throughout this novel, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted settles itself with the more quotidian nature of reality for these characters. It's set in the aftermath, in the recesses of unresolved emotional trauma. Grace's suicide and the tree where it occured are the symbol for how the ugliness of the past cannot be erased, but that the human spirit is capable of many rebirths. It also burrows deeper into the psychological, emotional and physical difficulty of living in a manner where you simply have to survive from day-to-day. It's a novel which ultimately revolves around relationships and how fundamental they are to our existence and our survival. Jake, who has burned every bridge in town, comes to realize that with the help of people like Rita and the Douglas Brothers he can slowly grow up instead of resorting to his reptilian tendencies. I still believe this novel speaks the language of marginalized in New Zealand with great empathy and a well-earned brushstroke of hopefulness. The heinous and the tragic will continue to afflict these character's lives but there is still a way forward, with the recognition of one's mistakes and shortcomings. Duff has certainly lost himself favour and credit within the liberal-left and arts community with his editorials but I defy (or rather invite) someone to tell me how this book, like its predecessor, isn't one with a great talent for empathy and in itself an important work of New Zealand art we should stil discuss.
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Read information about the authorAlan Duff (born October 26, 1950, Rotorua, New Zealand) is a New Zealand novelist and newspaper columnist, most well known as the author of Once Were Warriors. He began to write full-time in 1985.
He tried writing a thriller as his first novel, but it was rejected. He burned the manuscript and started writing Once Were Warriors, which had an immediate and great impact. The novel is written in juxtaposed interior monologues, making its style stand out from other works. It was winner of the PEN Best First Book Award, was runner-up in the Goodman Fielder Wattie Award, and was made into the award-winning film of the same name in 1994.
Another of his novels, One Night Out Stealing, appeared in 1991 and shortlisted in the 1992 Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards.
He was also awarded the Frank Sargeson Fellowship in 1991, and began writing a weekly -- later bi-weekly — column for the Evening Post (Wellington newspaper), syndicated to eight other newspapers. In this, and in his 1993 analysis, Māori: The Crisis and the Challenge, he has developed his ideas on the failures of Māoridom, castigating both the traditional leadership and the radical movement for dwelling on the injustices of the past and expecting others to resolve them, instead of encouraging Māori to get on and help themselves. The blame for Māori underperformance he puts squarely back on Māori, for not making the most of the opportunities given them. This somewhat simplistic message has proved highly controversial.
State Ward started as a series of episodes on radio in 1993 and was published as a novella in 1994.
The Books in Homes scheme, co-founded in 1995 by Duff and Christine Fernyhough, with commercial sponsorship and government support, aims to alleviate poverty and illiteracy by providing low-cost books to underprivileged children, thus encouraging them to read. In its first year alone it put about 180,000 new books in the hands of about 38,000 children. By 2008, the scheme delivered 5 million books to schools around New Zealand.
What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? (1996), the sequel to Once Were Warriors, was the winner of the fiction section of the 1997 Montana Book Awards and was also made in to a film in 1999. Two Sides of the Moon was published in 1998. Duff wrote his own memoir, Out of the Mist and the Steam, in 1999. His first novel to be set outside of New Zealand is Szabad (2001). Inspired by the stories of people Duff met during his several trips to Hungary, the story takes place in Budapest during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Jake's Long Shadow (2002) is the third volume in Duff's Once Were Warriors trilogy. In 2003 Once Were Warriors was brought to the stage across New Zealand as a musical drama.
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