Every so often you get to the end of a book and think: ‘I’d better read that again.’
Fishing with Māui, by Wellington-based author Isa Ritchie, is one such book.
I turned the last page a couple of days ago and I’m still not sure I’ve picked up on all the nuances or that I’ve properly understood what Ritchie was trying to say about the importance of family and tradition; the place of religion (or not!); and the difficulties of being comfortable in your own skin.
What the blurb says:
A novel about food, whānau, and mental illness.
Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep – just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner.
Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making.
Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time.
Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his Māori heritage and discover his own identity.
Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but she’s the only one who can tell something’s not right.
Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?
This is a beautifully well-written book with so many layers of meaning, so many voices to unravel, that one reading isn’t enough.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about it: because I want to read it again. NOW.
Fishing for Māui: a serious book for serious readers who want a book that makes them think.
About the author:
Isa Ritchie is a Wellington-based writer.
She grew up as a Pākehā child in a bicultural family and Māori was her first written language.
Ritchie has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. She is passionate about food, wellbeing and social justice.