I’ve finished reading my ninth novel for 2021, Infinite Threads, by Mariko B. Ryan. You know a book is powerful when you’re still thinking about it a week later. It’s the sort of book that stays with you. I may still think about the 100 indigenous insights for years to come, it might take me that long to understand it. Almost written like a poem, the insights form the meat of this fascinating sandwich that starts and ends with the author’s observations and personal story. Mariko B. Ryan generously shares some of the background to how she found herself ‘kaitiaki, guardian, of the once hidden writings of her great-grandfather, a tohunga, sage.’  

It is the author’s first book, and it’s a hardback. Mariko’s style of writing is erudite, almost poetic in her minimal delivery, getting maximal effect.

The author presents the 100 Indigenous Insights in eleven sections, covering every part of the indigenous life and viewpoint, from rituals of encounter to leadership. Each insight shows up as a heading and Mariko has translated the Maori words. Insight 1: Tae-a-tinana. Show Up. Then she relates the insights in well-crafted numbered mouthfuls. Most sentences start on a new line with a new number.

1. Today, you convinced yourself to show up.

2. Willing to be scrutinised. To go down. To get back up.

(and so on).

At first, I was so taken aback by this unusual book that I felt off put. But Infinite Threads has a universal appeal in its unexpected presentation and style. There is something, like a mystery, always drawing me onwards. What do the rest of the insights have in store? I wonder. What else did the old man, as Mariko fondly refers to him, say to enlighten and guide his great-granddaughter and all the future generations?

Although the author’s genealogy gives her the pedigree needed to interpret the writings of the sage, she admits she had to struggle against her own conditioning and confront her own fears to take on the role of authoring the book. Her blurb says, “Recent world events and challenges have inspired her to share the knowledge of her ancestors.” I appreciated the courage shown and the spirit of wanting to share this information with the world when it’s needed most. It drew me to find out what else the book had to say.

The more I read, the more I had to read. And it was not a flip through. Infinite Threads is no lightweight walk in the park, this is some thought-provoking, candid, clear-eyed, straight talk about us, the state of our lives and the world we live in today. And the indigenous viewpoint is such a balm to my soul right now that I really wanted to understand it as much as possible before I moved onto each new chapter, or section. I took my time over reading this book because I was learning new things.

The story starts out with the author Mariko B. Ryan sharing her thoughts and viewpoint. Speaking as an insider, she gives us the native New Zealander’s perspective on the history and culture of her people and the devastating effect of colonization. We are told the story of how Mariko came to be entrusted with the hidden writings of her great grandfather, Takou, who was an esteemed chief, sage, visionary and prophet, as well as a shape-shifter known to change into an emerald green gecko.

The insights in the novel are wonderful. They’re instructive. And the novel ends with Mariko relating her journey to take on the responsibility of sharing her great grandfather’s words. It’s the sort of personal struggle to step up anyone can relate to and envision.

Mariko B. Ryan lives in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and hails from the northern tribe of Te Rarawa. I thank her for Infinite Threads. This book is deep, real, and a timely reminder about how to live on this earth together the right way, lessons we could all benefit from right now. It’s the sort of book you keep on the shelf, and keep dipping into now and again. It’s a serious book, one for grown-ups. A must read. Well done, Mariko!

My rating: Four stars.

Talk to you later.

Keep creating!

Yvette Carol

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However, when we are all tending our gardens, when we are all fed and are all engaged productively, the need to take up arms is quelled and the realisation of Peace is affirmed. ~ 1182. Insight 61: Kaingaki Mara. Rangimarie. Gardeners. Peace, Infinite Threads

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Comments
  1. Sounds fascinating. I’d like to hear how you choose your books. Happy reading, Yvette.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks Joylene. It really struck a chord with me, this book.
      How do I choose books? I’m always mindful of needing to ‘read within my genre’ so that gives me an excuse to pick up loads of middle grade fantasy fiction whenever I’m out. However, I also love adult fiction like mysteries and memoirs. Whenever I’m at book fairs, thrift stores and garage sales I will always look at the books, picking them by the author oftentimes, or by the cover. Then I will read the blurb on the back of the book, if interested, read the first page and by that point, I know whether I want to read it or not. It’s a gut instinct thing. I really like this question, Joylene. It got me thinking about what makes me choose my reading material.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought provoking review. You have made the book sound compelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Infinite Threads creeps up on you and it becomes this engaging experience. If you do decide to purchase it and read, I’d be interested in your response, Vivienne.

      Like

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