Tauhou

Tauhou

A Novel

Dear grandmother, I am writing this song, over and over again, for you. I am a stranger in this place, he tauhou ahau, reintroducing myself to your land. 

Tauhou is an inventive exploration of Indigenous families, womanhood, and alternate post-colonial realities by Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall, a writer of Māori and Coast Salish descent. This innovative hybrid novel envisions a shared past between two Indigenous cultures, set on reimagined versions of Vancouver Island and Aotearoa New Zealand that sit side by side in the ocean.

Each chapter is a fable, an autobiographical memory, a poem. A monster guards cultural objects in a museum, a woman uncovers her own grave, another woman remembers her estranged father. On rainforest beaches and grassy dunes, sisters and cousins contend with the ghosts of the past — all the way back to when the first foreign ships arrived on their shores.

In a testament to the resilience of Indigenous women, the two sides of this family, Coast Salish and Māori, must work together in understanding and forgiveness to heal that which has been forced upon them by colonialism. Tauhou is an ardent search for answers, for ways to live with truth. It is a longing for home, to return to the land and sea.

Dear grandmother, I am writing this song, over and over again, for you. I am a stranger in this place, he tauhou ahau, reintroducing myself to your land. 

Tauhou is an inventive exploration of Indigenous families, womanhood, and alternate post-colonial realities by Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall, a writer of Māori and Coast Salish descent. This innovative hybrid novel envisions a shared past between two Indigenous cultures, set on reimagined versions of Vancouver Island and Aotearoa New Zealand that sit side by side in the ocean.

Each chapter is a fable, an autobiographical memory, a poem. A monster guards cultural objects in a museum, a woman uncovers her own grave, another woman remembers her estranged father. On rainforest beaches and grassy dunes, sisters and cousins contend with the ghosts of the past — all the way back to when the first foreign ships arrived on their shores.

In a testament to the resilience of Indigenous women, the two sides of this family, Coast Salish and Māori, must work together in understanding and forgiveness to heal that which has been forced upon them by colonialism. Tauhou is an ardent search for answers, for ways to live with truth. It is a longing for home, to return to the land and sea.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc — Apr 11, 2023
Specifications 224 pages | 5 in x 7.75 in
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Excerpt
Written By

KŌTUKU TITIHUIA NUTTALL (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, W̱SÁNEĆ) holds an MA from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She won the 2020 Adam Foundation Prize and was runner-up in the 2021 Surrey Hotel-Newsroom writer’s residency award. She lives on the Kāpiti Coast of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Written By

KŌTUKU TITIHUIA NUTTALL (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, W̱SÁNEĆ) holds an MA from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She won the 2020 Adam Foundation Prize and was runner-up in the 2021 Surrey Hotel-Newsroom writer’s residency award. She lives on the Kāpiti Coast of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tauhou is a search for answers, of finding ways to live with the truth. Some of the stories are like fables, others like poetry, and all are a sheer joy to read. A longing for home resonates, a gift for those of us searching for our island also.

” —Kete Books

This one’s for the lovers of language, lean prose-poetry you can dip in and out of and think about for hours. Best read beside a large body of water.

” —Woman Magazine

More than merely inventive, Tauhou’s geography is a visionary response to the grievous losses of colonization. … Nuttall’s story logic works by accretion, and she has rewards in store for readers willing to forgo the familiar comforts of narrative. … [A] deeply moving book.

” —West Trade Review

Profoundly hopeful, invested in futurity and the possibilities that come from solidarity, coalition-building, and community. … Tauhou successfully proves that a novel need not follow one plot or one set of characters to be wonderfully compelling. … Casting off convention, Nuttall confidently shows that to address the ongoing legacies of colonialism, we must change how we think of the future, art, and what is possible.

” —Miramichi Reader

Calling this a novel makes a profound statement about how story is community … Tauhou focalizes a complex network of relationships between families, friends, and even the locales, flora, and fauna they live among. This novel is not structured upon the familiar beats of narrative arc, and it certainly isn’t structured around conflict, though the ongoing struggles of colonialism stalk its periphery. Rather, Tauhou is shaped like a spiderweb whose delicate, and sometimes broken, strands of connectivity are being revealed, and even rebuilt, in the telling.

” —CAROUSEL

Tauhou stretches the geographic imaginary beyond land and into generations — not just through time or history but by envisioning land through past, present, and future lineages. … Through recreating geographic boundaries, Nuttall has found a way to understand the complexities of a person’s relationship to their culture spatially.

” —Varsity

Brilliantly written in the best of Māori and Coast Salish practices of story, Tauhou is teeming with possibility, love, and dreaming otherwise.

” —Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies

A work of great significance, integrity, craft, and poise.

” —Alison Whittaker, author of Blakwork

Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall takes threads made from all the colours of the Indigenous experience and crosses them over oceans, cultures, and time.

” —Tayi Tibble, author of Poukahangatus and Rangikura

Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall’s Tauhou is a brilliant example of what language can do when forged with intentional hands and a fantastic mind. Nuttall’s work binds words in a way that doesn’t hold too tightly but steadfastly contains the many Ancestors present in Nuttall’s life and work, weaving together a tapestry of nuance and witnessing. Masterful dialogue and rich scenes move emotions like the currents around Aotearoa and the Salish Seas, a beautiful display of lyricism that loudly proclaims that Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall belongs in the crescendo of rising voices in CanLit. Tauhou is not a collection to miss!

” —jaye simpson, author of it was never going to be okay

The stories in this collection move like the waves of the ocean that divide Vancouver Island and Aotearoa. Once you emerge from Tauhou’s narrative depths, you'll miss its imagination, its rhythms, its heart.

” —Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground