While living in New Zealand I’ve tried to become familiar with some Kiwi literature. I would say I’ve done a pretty good job with Wild Pork and Watercress. This book was first published back in 1986 but has come back into the limelight since the movie adaptation, titled Hunt for the Wilderpeople, was released earlier this year. It is very much a Kiwi book, and a Kiwi film (directed by Taika Waititi). I’m not sure the film has made it to the States yet.
Crump’s book tells the story of Ricky Baker and his Uncle Hec. After being bounced from foster family to foster family, Ricky finally comes to live with his aunt and uncle. But both his life and his Uncle Hec’s are changed when Ricky’s Aunty Bella suddenly dies. The two become fugitives hiding out in the New Zealand bush.
This is very much a coming of age tale as well as a heart-warming story of two outcasts finally finding somewhere, and someone, that accepts them just the way they are. Crump’s writing style reminds me a bit of Neil Gaiman and Hemingway (not that I’ve read much of him). It’s short and to the point but still evokes all the right emotions.
The story is written from Ricky’s point of view and Crump does a great job capturing his voice. The language is very casual and feels like the reader is hearing the story right from Ricky’s mouth instead of reading a book about it. It’s a tale that captures the struggles and dangers of living in the New Zealand bush, and shows how even terrible tragedies can bring about good things.
That’s enough cheese. It’s a quick and enjoyable read. Get you some Kiwi lit!