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Beginning with myths

The novelist Hamish Clayton rereads Lloyd Jones’s The Book of Fame

I first read Lloyd Jones’s The Book of Fame soon after it had won the Deutz Medal for fiction, at the then-Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2001. It had been published the year before, not surprisingly, to critical acclaim. I barely remember reading any reviews at all when it first appeared, but I do remember the talk around the novel, the excited edge of the chatter about this book that felt different to almost anything else going around in local fiction at the time. As the judges of the Montana put it: “On any scale of originality this novel is in a class of its own.” It’s not hard to see why.

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Posted in Imprints

Not what they seem, but more so, Lloyd Jones

The Stories of Bill Manhire Bill Manhire Victoria University Press, $40.00, ISBN 9780864739254 Bill Manhire turns 70 this year, as does another eminent poet of his generation, Ian Wedde. Brian Turner is 72. Vincent O’Sullivan is fast approaching 80. C

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Posted in Literature, Review and Short stories

What are ya, mate? Hugh Roberts

Pacific Highways (GriffithREVIEW 43)
Julianne Schultz and Lloyd Jones (eds)
Griffith University, $35.00,
ISBN 9781922182241

Is New Zealand peculiarly burdened with the curse of national introspection? Even to pose the question is to succumb to that curse; or perhaps to reduce it to its hall-of-mirrors core: “the defining characteristic of the New Zealander is to be endlessly preoccupied with discovering the defining characteristic of the New Zealander.” Can we ever stop worrying about “who we are now” and just start being it? Well, not yet, if the latest edition of the GriffithREVIEW is anything to go by.

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Posted in Essays, Fiction, Literature, Non-fiction, Poetry, Review, Short stories and Sociology

The ties that bind, Jane Westaway

The Lie That Settles Peter Farrell Ocean Books, $35.00, ISBN 978192721708 The Lost Pilot Jeffrey Paparoa Holman Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9781742539201 A History of Silence Lloyd Jones Penguin, $38.00, ISBN 9780143569473 “The cradle rocks above an abyss,” writes Nabokov in

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction and Review

Frightening truths, Elspeth Sandys

Hand Me Down World Lloyd Jones Penguin Books, $40.00, ISBN 9780143205098   Let me start by nailing my colours to the mast. Despite my aversion to the idea of “best” books, whether it take the form of lists (the top

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Wandering at will, Margot Schwass

The Man in the Shed Lloyd Jones Penguin Books, $37.00, ISBN 9780143202509 Fourteen stories spanning nearly two decades are gathered together in this new collection from Lloyd Jones, his first book since Mister Pip. For all their deceptively familiar settings,

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Posted in Literature, Review and Short stories

The Jones effect, Patrick Evans

Mister Pip Lloyd Jones Penguin, $35.00, ISBN 9780143020899 Lloyd Jones is the man who wrote a book about a child molester, and no one noticed – what better proof do we need that journalists don’t really read fiction? And yet

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Minding our own beeswax, Barbara Murison

Everything You Need to Know About the World by Simon Eliot Lloyd Jones, illustrations by Timon Maxey Four Winds Press, $19.95, ISBN 0958251495 From Weta to Kauri: A Guide to the New Zealand Forest Janet Hunt, photographs by Rob Lucas

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Posted in Biography, Children, Natural History and Non-fiction

Mansfield parked, Lloyd Jones

Mansfield: A Novel C K Stead Vintage, $26.95, ISBN 1843431769 The short life of Katherine Mansfield has been well picked over. We have the biographies, the critical studies, her own journals and letters. Hardly a year goes by without the

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

A wink to the grown-ups, Gavin Bishop

The Night Kite Peter Bland, illustrations by Carl Bland, Mallinson Rendel, $24.95, ISBN 0908783833 Napoleon and the Chicken Farmer Lloyd Jones, illustrations by Graeme Gash, Mallinson Rendel, $29.95, ISBN 0908783752 Cat’s Whiskers – 4 Favourite Lynley Dodd Stories Lynley Dodd

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Posted in Children, Literature and Review
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