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Air-brushed, Nicholas Reid

Helen Clark: Inside Stories
Claudia Pond Eyley and Dan Salmon (eds)
Auckland University Press, $40.00,
ISBN 978186940 8381

She led the parliamentary Labour Party for 15 years and served for nine years as New Zealand’s first elected woman prime minister. She is clearly a person of formidable intelligence, steely determination, and a strong sense of her social objectives. On the New Zealand scene, she was always a canny political operator who knew how to manoeuvre her way through challenges from both outside and inside her own party. (You don’t get re-elected three times as prime minister without having these skills.)

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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction and Review

Worlds old and new, Nicholas Reid

Purgatory
Rosetta Allan
Penguin, $30.00
ISBN 9780143571025

James Cook’s New World
Graeme Lay
Fourth Estate, $37.00
ISBN 9781775540410

There’s one current phenomenon in New Zealand literature that I’m watching with great interest. It’s the fact that, with a few honourable exceptions (Hamish Clayton’s Wulf, Owen Marshall’s The Larnachs, and the historical reconstructions of Peter Wells), all the best New Zealand historical novels are now being written by women – Paula Morris’s Rangatira, Charlotte Randall’s Hokitika Town and The Bright Side of My Condition, Sarah Quigley’s The Conductor, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries and (with minor misgivings) Tina Makereti’s Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Memory and oxo cubes, Murray Bramwell

The Little Enemy Nicholas Reid Steele Roberts, $29.95, ISBN 9781877577512 A Man Runs into a Woman Sarah Jane Barnett Hue and Cry Press, $25.00, ISBN 9780473213992 The Same as Yes Joan Fleming Victoria University Press, $28.00, ISBN 9780864736987 These three

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Object lessons, Nicholas Reid

The Thrill of Falling Witi Ihimaera Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9781869799205   Recently, with the death of Margaret Mahy, New Zealand mourned the loss of one of its best-known writers for children. We can take comfort, however, from the fact that

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Posted in Literature, Review, Short stories and Young adults

That foreign country the past, Nicholas Reid

I Got His Blood on Me Lawrence Patchett Victoria University Press, $35.00, ISBN 9780864737687   Who has whose blood on him? The narrator of the title story I Got His Blood on Me is smeared with the blood of an

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Posted in Literature, Review and Short stories

How they probably thought, Nicholas Reid

Rangatira Paula Morris Penguin Books, $30.00, ISBN 978014565758   What is the value to us of historical novels? They are valuable only when they try to reconstruct the mentality of the past. Second-rate historical novels dress up modern characters in

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

What am I doing here? Nicholas Reid

A Man Melting Craig Cliff Vintage, $29.99, ISBN 9781869791926   Everything We Hoped For Pip Adam Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780864736253   Once upon a Time in Aotearoa Tina Makereti Huia, $30.00, ISBN 978186969166   He ran his right

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Short stories

Poem — Nicholas Reid

Real culture My father licked the bones of Dickens and ate meat from an English plate examining the corpse of Eng Lit corpus Hooded and Patmored, minor-poeted and Thompsoned in an opiate religion. What was the aim of this? Career?

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Posted in Poem

Home and away, Nicholas Reid

Dead People’s Music Sarah Laing Vintage, $29.99, ISBN 9781869791087 Footnotes to Sex Mia Farlane Viking, $37.00, ISBN 9780670917938 Mother’s Day Laurence Fearnley Penguin, $28.00, ISBN 9780143011255 I am male, middle-aged, heterosexual and monogamous. The first two terms make me different

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Poem — Nicholas Reid

Once to the Rocks   “Once to the rocks,” said Bill and took a dive as neat and arc-like as a well-cast line. He left no ripple. I blundered behind with belly-flop and splashes, awkwardly.   So in his element,

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Posted in Poem
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