When Keri Hulme passed away, I was reminded of a short story of hers I read pretty recently. There are two Hulme stories in the anthology One Whale, Singing (named for one of the Hulme stories) and ‘Kiteflying Party at Doctor’s Point’ was a revelation when I found it. It touches on many of the themes in Hulme’s Booker Prize-winning The Bone People, mainly environmental anxiety (something that Patricia Grace’s writing also contends with) and, well, general anxiety. Hulme beautifully describes the beach, the sky and the sea. And her narrator is fearful of what will be lost and what she has already lost. It has in it an aching, a longing for something that isn’t possible. The fact it was first published 44 years ago is horrifying to me, as it so perfectly demonstrates our current moment.
First published in 1977 and collected in One Whale, Singing, The Women’s Press and Te Kaihau/The Windeater Victoria University Press, 1986