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Raymond Chandler meets Alfred Bester, Michael Morrissey

Hold My Teeth While I Teach You to Dance
Mike Johnson
99% Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9780994101518

Mike Johnson is one of our most gifted novelists, yet he has been curiously neglected. I suspect the problem is his bold originality. Each of his novels seems to break new ground, creating a new one-off genre. No wonder critics, not to mention readers, have been baffled. Lear: The Shakespeare Company Plays Lear at Babylon was an extraordinary tour de force set in a post-apocalyptic world which, like Joyce’s Ulysses, draws on a parallel literary universe. Thus, the reader is invited to read the world through a double focus. The effect is enriching. In Dumb Show, his fourth novel, he successfully relocated the gothic of the American Deep South to New Zealand in all its cruelty and bleakness. Father, one of the central characters, is granted the grace of redemption.

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Posted in Fiction and Literature

Hooves of unicorns clattering, Eleanor Toland

The Disestablishment of Paradise Phillip Mann Victor Gollancz, $37.00, ISBN 9780575132627 The Last Sanctuary P S Mokha Tangerine Publications, $30.00, ISBN 9780987664655 Tropic of Skorpeo Michael Morrissey Steam Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780987663535 Fantasy and science fiction are genres often underrepresented

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Cracking up, David Cohen

Taming the Tiger: A Personal Encounter with Manic Depression Michael Morrissey Polygraphia, $39.00, ISBN 9781877332968   Sing No Sad Songs Sandra Arnold Canterbury University Press, $35.00, ISBN 9781927145067   Michael Morrissey’s account of his long encounter with mental affliction begins

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Posted in Autobiography, Memoir, Non-fiction and Review

No ordinary son, Janet Hunt and Michael Morrissey

Biographer Janet Hunt and writer Michael Morrissey attend Hone Tuwhare’s tangi.   In death, seen obliquely as he lay on the satin bed of his coffin, he was not himself. Oh, it was Tuwhare all right: there was the familiar

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Posted in Comment

The trouble with faith, Vivienne Jepsen

Heart of the Volcano Michael Morrissey Bookcaster Press, $20.00, ISBN 0473068443 Calling the Fish & Other Stories David Lyndon Brown Otago University Press, $29.95, ISBN 1877276103 Michael Morrissey’s Heart of the Volcano is the entertaining tale of Grant, who seeks

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Short stories

Part character study, part thriller, Michael Morrissey

Believers to the Bright Coast Vincent O’Sullivan Penguin, $29.95, ISBN 0 14 028027 8 Like such men of letters as C K Stead and Ian Wedde, Vincent O’Sullivan has been fruitfully exploring all the major literary genres – poetry, short stories,

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Colonising impulses with flair, Iain Sharp

Paradise to Come Michael Morrissey HarperCollins, $24.95, ISBN 1 86950 252 3 Although he has also been a prolific poet during the past three decades, Michael Morrissey is known chiefly as the author of quirky, “experimental” short stories influenced by Barth,

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

A rare breed, Michael Morrissey

The literary politician. Sounds faintly implausible? Like a ballerina plumber or a crocheting bricklayer? I am referring of course to the politician who writes poems, novels or plays rather than the politician who is a mere apologist, pamphleteer or self

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Posted in Opinion

Modernist genius or drunken lecher? Michael Morrissey

Lethal Dose Mike Johnson, Hard Echo Press, $27.95 While official feminism may be liberating and strengthening women, it is having an unfortunate effect on male writers, artists and intellectuals. Many males now cravenly play to the feminist ears and eyes

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Cryptic crosswords and intellectual judo, Chris Else

Black Rainbow Albert Wendt, Penguin, $29.95 Octavio’s Last Invention Michael Morrissey, Brick Row, $27.95 The world of Black Rainbow is a futuristic parody based on New Zealand Pakeha values, a world without crime, poverty or unemployment founded on a comfortable, all‑pervasive Philosophy

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review
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