"Cannibalistic Maori Behead Rupert Murdoch"

by Toby Manhire / 28 May, 2012
A French crime writer has penned three novels set in New Zealand: Haka , Utu, and La Dernière Danse des Maoris.
If nothing else, it’s the title of the year. “Cannibalistic Maori Behead Rupert Murdoch”.

Or to give the chapter its full, unmistakeably academic, heading: “Cannibalistic Maori Behead Rupert Murdoch: (Mis)representations of Antipodean Otherness in ‘Maori Thrillers”.

It’s not clear to me where Murdoch comes into it, but the Caryl Férey books under consideration in the essay, the opening chapter of a new book to be published in August, The Foreign in International Crime Fiction, are likely to be those in the French author’s “Maori saga”: Haka (2003), Utu (2004) and La Dernière Danse des Maoris (2011).

Férey, who reportedly lived in New Zealand for some time after travelling around the world in the late 80s, has won acclaim and awards for his crime novels.

The authors of the paper, Ellen Carter and Deborah Walker, are respectively student and supervisor for a PhD thesis in the School of European Languages and Literatures at Auckland University, with the working title “Any publicity is good publicity? How two French crime novels affect French readers’ perceptions of Aotearoa New Zealand”.

According to one US-based blogger, Ferey writes “ dark, violent books about colonised countries and their colonists’ relationships with the native population”.

But Walker is no fan. According to the blurb for a talk last year:

Caryl Férey sought to disguise his outsider status and bolster the ethnographic credibility of his two “Maori” thrillers, by appropriating tropes from postcolonial literature and travellers' tales.


Here I will talk specifically about how, in our view, Férey's ill-informed bricolage of noir and postcolonial tropes turns key moments of his text into the worst kind of postmodern pastiche, in which the author's flawed representations of Maori and Polynesians morph into exotic Antipodean others, almost unrecognisable to an informed New Zealand reader but problematically credible to his French audience, to judge by prizes won as well as popular acclaim.


On a related note, see Craig Ranapia’s postcard from Cologne, and his discovery of a German novel called Die Tränen der Maori-Göttin.

h/t @modernletters
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Zimbabwean self-confessed murderer tried to stay in NZ
71936 2017-05-01 06:41:25Z Currently

Zimbabwean self-confessed murderer tried to stay i…

by Jane Patterson

A former member of Robert Mugabe's secret police who admitted to rape, murder and torture has left NZ after he was denied a work visa.

Read more
Labour to release party list
71929 2017-05-01 06:24:33Z Currently

Labour to release party list

by Mei Heron

The Labour Party will release its party list today, with one casualty already confirmed - MP Sue Moroney has announced she will stand down.

Read more
Please don't mention Trump or our economic success
71892 2017-05-01 00:00:00Z Politics

Please don't mention Trump or our economic success…

by Graham Adams

It's election year — watch out for dog-whistles and half-truths.

Read more
Sir Douglas Myers: 1938-2017
71921 2017-05-01 00:00:00Z Profiles

Sir Douglas Myers: 1938-2017

by Pattrick Smellie

One of our most successful and controversial businessmen was a passionate advocate for New Zealand.

Read more
Podcast: New films Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Raw, Get Out
71959 2017-05-01 00:00:00Z Podcasts

Podcast: New films Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, …

by Noted

In this latest episode of the Screening Room, film critics James Robins and Darren Bevan pontificate and peruse the latest cinema releases.

Read more
Deborah Lipstadt: A matter of fact
71867 2017-04-30 00:00:00Z Profiles

Deborah Lipstadt: A matter of fact

by James Robins

When academic Deborah Lipstadt called self-styled historian David Irving a bigot who had falsified and distorted documents, he sued. Big mistake.

Read more
Why this Aucklander loves Takapuna and Devonport
71813 2017-04-30 00:00:00Z Where to go in Auckland

Why this Aucklander loves Takapuna and Devonport

by Paperboy

Auckland foodie Rebecca Jones makes the most of Takapuna’s market and Devonport’s lovely library.

Read more
Keeping it real: What part does humanity play in virtual reality?
71678 2017-04-30 00:00:00Z Technology

Keeping it real: What part does humanity play in v…

by Peter Griffin

As virtual- and augmented-reality apps swamp us, developers are urged to remember humanity.

Read more