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What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?

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The raw and powerful sequel to Once Were Warriors. It is six years since Jake's daughter Grace hanged herself. Jake's wife, Beth, has left him, his son Nig was killed in a gangland fight - his only consolations are drink and his memories. His daughter Polly is determined to escape the violence that is destroying the Maoris. But can Jake, too, redeem himself? The raw and powerful sequel to Once Were Warriors. It is six years since Jake's daughter Grace hanged herself. Jake's wife, Beth, has left him, his son Nig was killed in a gangland fight - his only consolations are drink and his memories. His daughter Polly is determined to escape the violence that is destroying the Maoris. But can Jake, too, redeem himself?


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The raw and powerful sequel to Once Were Warriors. It is six years since Jake's daughter Grace hanged herself. Jake's wife, Beth, has left him, his son Nig was killed in a gangland fight - his only consolations are drink and his memories. His daughter Polly is determined to escape the violence that is destroying the Maoris. But can Jake, too, redeem himself? The raw and powerful sequel to Once Were Warriors. It is six years since Jake's daughter Grace hanged herself. Jake's wife, Beth, has left him, his son Nig was killed in a gangland fight - his only consolations are drink and his memories. His daughter Polly is determined to escape the violence that is destroying the Maoris. But can Jake, too, redeem himself?

30 review for What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nic

    A very emotionally demanding read - as hard to put down as it is to pick up!

  2. 5 out of 5

    James

    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 ( 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Heath-Caldwell

    Very interesting, well written book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karl Royce

    Even Jake the Muss regrets his shite life and he was the one with the most promise for not caring, ever.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first book in the series. While it was good to see what happened to the family, it jumped around a lot and the story element wasn’t as good.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tess Carrad

    Whoah! Not an easy read. It is written in the voices of the characters, who are mainly disadvantaged Maori. Also they are criminals, gang members and mostly not very nice people who do not very nice things. Glad I read it though.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    I loved this book. Starting 6 years after Once Were Warriors, we follow Jake the Muss as he cleans up his act and tries to make amends for the terrible life he led before. We are introduced to a bunch of new characters such as Mulla Rota, a Brown Fist who is experiencing love for the first time and starting to realize that the gang life is a dead end; the Douglas brothers Kohi and Gary, who are like nicer versions of Jake. They show him how to live a more honorable life. We also get the story of I loved this book. Starting 6 years after Once Were Warriors, we follow Jake the Muss as he cleans up his act and tries to make amends for the terrible life he led before. We are introduced to a bunch of new characters such as Mulla Rota, a Brown Fist who is experiencing love for the first time and starting to realize that the gang life is a dead end; the Douglas brothers Kohi and Gary, who are like nicer versions of Jake. They show him how to live a more honorable life. We also get the story of the Trambert family, whose tree Grace hung herself on. There's Gloria Jones, a single mother, the opposite of Beth Heke and a horrible person. Two of the Heke children are featured. Polly, now the same age Grace was when she died, and Abe, the brother who hero-worshipped Nig and has now joined a rival gang in hopes of getting revenge for Nig's death. There's so much going on I just couldn't put the book down. Alan Duff's writing style is amazing, it jumps from describing the scene to hearing the thoughts of the characters without transition. Words are misspelled and punctuation is missing to emulate the speech of the characters. Like Once Were Warriors, this book looks at the lives of the poverty stricken Maori people of New Zealand and the different ways they cope with it. This book offers a bit of hope and redemption even for people like Jake the Muss.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Boyer-Kelly

    The sequel to Once were Warriors and I highly encourage you to read this if you've read the first novel. If you missed the first novel, please start there (you'll need to read these in order to fully understand them!). The story takes place 6-years after the events of the last book. What are the remaining members of the Heke family doing now? One of the biggest questions answered, or almost answered is: (view spoiler)[Did Jake really rape his daughter Grace? (hide spoiler)] The answer actually c The sequel to Once were Warriors and I highly encourage you to read this if you've read the first novel. If you missed the first novel, please start there (you'll need to read these in order to fully understand them!). The story takes place 6-years after the events of the last book. What are the remaining members of the Heke family doing now? One of the biggest questions answered, or almost answered is: (view spoiler)[Did Jake really rape his daughter Grace? (hide spoiler)] The answer actually changes your reading of the first novel a bit. Which is quite interesting. As a scholar, I have been working with the first novel and film adaptation--and without reading this second novel, you're really going to be missing something. Something that can change an analysis quite a bit. Not as great as the first novel because the impact is not as grand (the events aren't as grand either) but it does a great job of engaging the reader. I still love it, and hate it, all at the same time. Great writing and a must read for those interested in Maori, Pacific, Indigenous, or just-plain-good literature. <3

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lex

    Here's the thing: a sequel to a fantastic first (book or movie) invariably disappoints. The biggest fault of What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is that it doesn't make the same splash Once Were Warriors did. It's impossible to capture charisma in a bottle twice going. That said, the story picks up from where we left off with Jake and Beth. It's a suitable, expected set of consequences following the sequence of events ignited by Grace, and flows movingly enough. Jake's struggles to be a better ma Here's the thing: a sequel to a fantastic first (book or movie) invariably disappoints. The biggest fault of What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is that it doesn't make the same splash Once Were Warriors did. It's impossible to capture charisma in a bottle twice going. That said, the story picks up from where we left off with Jake and Beth. It's a suitable, expected set of consequences following the sequence of events ignited by Grace, and flows movingly enough. Jake's struggles to be a better man are quietly powerful. Thus, it may not be the same electrifiying thunder of Once Were Warriors, but as a second part, this flows with a quieter power.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lei

    This book gives you the themes of redemption and Life. After the traumatic drama with the death of Jake's daughter. Jake starts to clean up his act and find some sort of inner-peace. Meanwhile Beth is finding her way as well, being ALL-WOMAN... inspirational. This book gives you the themes of redemption and Life. After the traumatic drama with the death of Jake's daughter. Jake starts to clean up his act and find some sort of inner-peace. Meanwhile Beth is finding her way as well, being ALL-WOMAN... inspirational.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Conrad Mason

    A good followup to Once were Warriors. This one was abit less brutal and 'raw' but found it interesting. This story more focussed on Jake seeking redemption and a better life after what happened in the first novel. Recommend for those who have read once were warriors or seen the movie A good followup to Once were Warriors. This one was abit less brutal and 'raw' but found it interesting. This story more focussed on Jake seeking redemption and a better life after what happened in the first novel. Recommend for those who have read once were warriors or seen the movie

  12. 4 out of 5

    Selina

    The sequal to 'Once were Warriors' where Jake turns to pighunting and Beth makes a respectable marriage (but misses the raw passion of Jake). If you can handle Once were warriors then this is not a bad read although it is a bit bleak. The sequal to 'Once were Warriors' where Jake turns to pighunting and Beth makes a respectable marriage (but misses the raw passion of Jake). If you can handle Once were warriors then this is not a bad read although it is a bit bleak.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mariana

    This is the sequel to Once were Warriors and shows that time and love can bring dome healing to the broken hearted.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Suitably harrowing in the style of Once Were Warriors

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jodie Gale

    Pre holiday read before our trip to NZ on Thursday- excellent book, great audio!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kaea

    In the following year after Graces death, Jake goes back to drink with the boys. In one night their was a gang fight against the Hawks and the Toa gang

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ketan Shah

    The sequel to Once Were Warriors.,Works well when read back to back with the first book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    LaVerne Clark

    Not as powerful as Once Were Warriors, but still a really good, thought-provoking book worthy of a re-read. The Heke family will live in my heart and mind forever.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Booklovinglady

    Excellent sequel which answered the many questions left at the end of the previous novel of, what would become, the Once Were Warriors trilogy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    The sequel to Once Were Warriors. It is as powerful, detailed and gritty. Well-written in a terse, concise manner. He manages to show their humanity in spite of their deeds.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Kennedy

    Amazing book, as good as Once Were Warriors.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    A heartbreaking account of Maori life in New Zealand. A follow up to the acclaimed Once were Warriors, but every bit as moving as the first book. Recommend.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Noah

    This is, in its own way, as hard a book to read as Once Were Warriors. It’s a story of loss and redemption that toke me a while to get through. I had to stop reading from time to time, just to feel the loss of the characters. I cried more than once, reading it. This book will stay with me for a long time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lee

  26. 4 out of 5

    Oeildelynx25

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sebastiaan Visser

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leon Thornton

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alma

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