Sweet recklessness, Kiran Dass

The Salted Air 
Thom Conroy
Vintage, $38.00,
ISBN 9781775538820

“We strut about imagining heroism and lucky saves, but we’ve got it all wrong. Catastrophe arrives when the air is warm and people are everywhere … .” So observes the keenly self-aware but haunted Djuna in Palmerston North-based author Thom Conroy’s second novel, The Salted Air. Djuna is grief-stricken after the suicide of her partner, Harvey. She is also quietly guilt-ridden, as she feels implicated in his death, knowing he was high-risk. The daughter of progressive American parents – a circumspect mother and optimistic father – who emigrated to Palmerston North, Djuna smiles through sadness. “Life is not quite good enough, but there’s nothing better,” she muses at one point.

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