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The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke
The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke | Tina Makereti
1 post | 1 read | 7 to read
While exhibited as a curiosity, a Maori boy turns his gaze on Victorian London. 'The hour is late. The candle is low. Tomorrow I will see whether it is my friends or a ship homewards I meet. But I must finish my story for you first. My future, my descendant, my mokopuna. Listen.' So begins the tale of James Poneke- orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. All the world's a stage, especially when you're a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises. Although London is everything James most desires, this new world is more dark and dazzling than he could have imagined.
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This novel starts in the late 1830s - the British haven‘t been in New Zealand long and we see them through the eyes of a young Maori boy as he is orphaned. At 15 he has the opportunity to go to London (1846) and be a living part of a NZ exhibition. We get both his coming of age story and his eyes opening to the poverty, racism and gender shame of what he was told was the cream of the civilised world. This is fictional but it was inspired by ⬇️

Centique ...the real life of a young Maori boy taken to Victorian England. Really good and it made me cry 😓⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 7mo
Tamra 😑 7mo
Reggie 😭 it sounds good but I can't. I don't know if I have in me what I need for this book, right now, anyways. 7mo
Stephjotsdown This sounds amazing. Into my TBR it goes 7mo
Centique @Reggie yes I think that‘s a wise call. I should have said trigger warning for this book. You should maybe read this other one I talked to @ReadingEnvy about 7mo
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