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Reeling them in

Editorial It’s been a year since Peppercorn Press and New Zealand Books Pukapuka Aotearoa launched Hooked on NZ Books, www.hookedonbooks.org.nz, a website designed to encourage, nurture and publish young reviewers reading New Zealand books. During our first year, Hooked on NZ Books has supported that online

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Issue 115 — Editorial

Taking it personally Recent conversations about the state of reviewing in New Zealand have been dominated by demands, sometimes pleas, that reviewers be brave and honest. Of course. We, too, at New Zealand Books Pukapuka Aotearoa look for bravery and

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Editorial — Issue 110

Obligatory piety

We don’t know whether, like us, others are feeling a certain uneasiness at the direction the WWI/Anzac centenary commemorations (often celebrations) are taking. That the platoons of books regularly pouring off the presses, here and overseas, that the many WWI websites and other online aids are potentially making readers better informed about what actually happened is good. That many, as a result, have been led to explore their genealogy or whakapapa is valuable. It is worthwhile to learn under what circumstances at Gallipoli or Passchendaele, in Egypt or elsewhere your great grandfather, your great great uncle or your distant cousin died or was wounded. It is rewarding to read their letters or diaries, if these survive. It is important to reaffirm that history did not begin with your own birth, that it’s not all just “back in the day”, some timeless zone called Who Cares? A country without a sense of history, a country without cultural memory, is a country with Alzheimer’s.

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Myself alone, Louise O’Brien

Landscape with Solitary Figure
Shonagh Koea
Vintage, $30.00, ISBN 9781775535881

Shonagh Koea’s novel Landscape with Solitary Figure is concerned with themes of domestic trauma, emotional unhappiness, withdrawal and solitude, written with a careful attention to detail which mires the reader in the mindfully self-aware moment, producing an intense reading experience which is also deeply unsettling. It is a stately novel, its movements measured but never ponderous, pausing often to think and reflect, offering up a series of tableaux – not always in chronological order – as if they were a series of paintings in a gallery before which one pauses to admire and contemplate, the fuller narrative being formed somewhere in the spaces and connections between them.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Editorial — Issue 105

Something old, something new Between us, we have noticed – with a progression of interest, appetite, and increasing alarm, rather swiftly replaced by boredom – a growing body of new novels that look very much like the old. Sequels, prequels,

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Alternate lives, Louise O’Brien

Don Vicente’s Daughter and Other Stories John Parkyn Oceanbooks, price unavailable, ISBN 978192715012 All the Voices Cry  Alice Petersen Biblioasis, $15.95, ISBN 978196845524  Ancestry Albert Wendt Huia, $35.00, ISBN 9781775500377 John Parkyn’s first volume of short stories, Don Vicente’s Daughter

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Short stories

What’s been lost, Louise O’Brien

The Silence Beyond: Selected Writings Michael King (introduction by Rachael King) Penguin, $42.00, ISBN 9780143565567   The Passionless People Revisited Gordon McLauchlan David Bateman, $30.00, ISBN 9781869537906   The Silence Beyond is a new and posthumous selection of rare and

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Posted in History, Non-fiction and Review

Ths pm is lk a brkn cty, Louise O’Brien

The Broken Book Fiona Farrell Auckland University Press, $34.99, ISBN 9781869405762   Renowned for her short fiction, novels, poetry and plays, Fiona Farrell’s distinguished writing career earned her the 2007 New Zealand Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction. This latest work,

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Posted in Essays, Literature, Poetry and Review

Last words, Louise O’Brien

Stunning Debut of the Repairing of a Life Leigh Davis Otago University Press, $39.95, ISBN 9781877578002   In 2008, Leigh Davis (1955-2009) underwent radio-therapy treatment following surgery for a brain tumour which directly affected his ability to express himself in

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

The good, the bad and the epic, Louise O’Brien

As the Earth Turns Silver Alison Wong Penguin Books, $37.00, ISBN 0143011677 Who Sings for Lu?  Alan Duff Vintage, $36.99, ISBN 9781869790585 The Adventures of Vela Albert Wendt Huia, $35.00, ISBN 9781869693633 Alison Wong’s As the Earth Turns Silver describes

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