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Chappy by Patricia Grace
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Chappy (2015)

by Patricia Grace

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A delightful book, written with delicacy and understanding of the cultural differences of families across three nations. ( )
  Carole46 | Oct 22, 2016 |
This is a wonderful novel - at times I felt as if it was all true and that Patricia Grace was documenting something from her own family experience. The author writes with an authority about te ao maaori but also of the New Zealand pakeha world. Ironically the two worlds are brought together by a Japanese man Chappy who was the husband of the chief narrator Oriwia.

Patricia Grace has the ability to write about Aotearoa/New Zealand authentically but also to reach out to the wider world of the Pacific which she does by including the relationship between Aki (the other key narrator) and his Hawaiian wife Ela bringing the notion of Hawaiki into the novel - the ancestral homeland of the Maori people. Her earlier book 'Ned and Katina' which documents the relationship between a Maori soldier who fought in WWII and his Cretan wife, also shows that reaching out.

One of the themes of the novel is 'lost and found' - Chappy found as a stowaway on a ship and later re-found after the war. And then the loss and disappearance of the child Moonface and returned soldier Noddy. By the end of the novel only Noddy's remains had been found. They are dealt with in a Maori way - maybe not as unique as we think. We are left to think about the possibility of the existence of the patu paiarehe or forest fairies and that they may have taken Moonface.

In contrast to the accurate descriptions of New Zealand small-town life and particularly of the tearoom with its cakes and biscuits, the novel inserts the idea of the Japanese garden created by Chappy. Its difference from the rest of life, could be read as Chappy re-asserting his difference within his adopted whanau, just as the grandson Daniel is different in his life-experience. Is Grace pointing to the inevitable marriage of cultures and races in the world of the 21st century? ( )
  louis69 | Feb 15, 2016 |
This tale of a young man sent to visit his New Zealand grandmother to piece himself together is an immensely satisfying read.
Daniel, born of a Danish father and New Zealand mother has spent his life moving around Europe and is feeling rootless and restless. The reader becomes immersed in Daniel's unravelling of his mothers Maori/Japanese parentage and a winning story of a marriage enduring forced separation, cross-cultural conflicts and the changing times. As always with this author the characters are beautifully crafted and the book draws to a satisfying conclusion. ( )
  HelenBaker | Jan 3, 2016 |
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I came to this country in the first place needing to piece myself together, hoping there could be attachments.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A literary milestone: Patricia Grace's first novel in ten years.

Uprooted from his privileged European life and sent to New Zealand to sort himself out, twenty-one-year-old Daniel pieces together the history of his Maori family. As his relatives revisit their past, Daniel learns of a remarkable love story between his Maori grandmother Oriwia and his Japanese grandfather Chappy. The more Daniel hears about his deceased grandfather, the more intriguing – and elusive – Chappy becomes.

In this touching portrayal of family life, acclaimed writer Patricia Grace explores racial intolerance, cross-cultural conflicts and the universal desire to belong. Spanning several decades and several continents and set against the backdrop of a changing New Zealand, Chappy is a compelling story of enduring love.

ISBN 9780143572398
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Uprooted from his privileged European life and sent to New Zealand to sort himself out, twenty-one-year-old Daniel pieces together the history of his Maori family. As his relatives revisit their past, Daniel learns of a remarkable love story between his Maori grandmother Oriwia and his Japanese grandfather Chappy. The more Daniel hears about his deceased grandfather, the more intriguing - and elusive - Chappy becomes.… (more)

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