Blog Archives

Imagined pasts, alternative futures, Craig Cliff

The Necessary Angel
C K Stead
Allen and Unwin, $37.00,
ISBN 9781760631529

Salt Picnic
Patrick Evans
Victoria University Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9781776561698

Our Future is in the Air
Tim Corballis
Victoria University Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9781776561179

When a white male editor commissions another white male to review three novels, all written by white males, in late 2017, after the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of #MeToo, the white male reviewer must be forgiven for thinking about absent voices, privilege and power dynamics while reading the assigned books. Stale, male and pale – that’s what cynics might say. Male and pale are hard to dispute when it comes to Stead, Evans and Corballis, but stale? That’s the crux, isn’t it? Are these books vital enough to warrant the bandwidth we might devote to them? What do they have to say that hasn’t been said before?

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Fiction’s odd couple, Mark Williams

Gifted  Patrick Evans Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780864736376   A curious rumour about this new novel by Patrick Evans preceded its publication. The rumour was that Evans had done something exceptionally good and it came from people one didn’t

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Cooked up, Stuart Murray

The Long Forgetting: Post-colonial Literary Culture in New Zealand Patrick Evans Canterbury University Press, $34.50,  ISBN 9781877257698 Approximately halfway through Patrick Evans’ study comes a paragraph that, upon reflection, more or less sums up the way the book works. The

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Posted in History, Literature, Non-fiction and Review

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

The “Frame effect”, Patrick Evans

The most famous of Janet Frame’s poems is probably the one about the little boy dying of leukaemia, “Yet Another Poem About a Dying Child”, which ends with the appearance of Death as a giant spider which gobbles the child

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Posted in Comment

A long look back, Patrick Evans

Seven New Zealand Novellas ed Peter Simpson Reed, $34.95, ISBN 0790008963 “New Zealand literature” as it is currently presented and studied at the University of Canterbury was established in the decade from 1977 by Peter Simpson, who doggedly developed the

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Short stories

Falling on his feet, Patrick Evans

Backwards to Forwards: A Memoir Kevin Ireland Vintage, $29.95, ISBN 1869414993 Some time in 1986 (I think it was), Kevin Ireland turned up at the University of Canterbury English Department as writer-in-residence. What returns to the memory is a series

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction and Review

When the conversation lollies run out, Patrick Evans

The Dictionary of New Zealand English: New Zealand words and their origins ed H W Orsman Oxford University Press, $150.00, ISBN 0 19 558347 7 It is nearly 20 years since I and a number of fellow conference-goers spent an

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Posted in Language, Non-fiction and Review
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