Blog Archives

Ways of cooking it – a smorgasbord of art books, Mark Amery

If you were to place all of the volumes on New Zealand art in one bookcase, you’d be presented with one rather higgledy-piggledy collection. Together they would tell an odd tale of short-lived publishing lines, changing institutional agendas, different and

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction and Review

The historian’s story, Brian Turner

Looking for the Phoenix – A Memoir W H Oliver Bridget Williams Books, $39.95, ISBN 1877242985 When W H (Bill) Oliver says that, by and large, New Zealand’s been a “good place” for him, one senses that at times he’s

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction and Review

Back to the future, Shelagh Duckham Cox

The Hopeful Traveller Fiona Farrell Vintage, $26.95, ISBN 1869415175 This island novel starts either in 1851 with a rail journey to the Crystal Palace in London or in 2001 in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the two

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Another thing about Jake, Otto Heim

Jake’s Long Shadow Alan Duff Vintage, $29.95, ISBN 1869415116 The first impression of Alan Duff’s new novel makes you expect a work of probing substance. Its cover is reminiscent of Heretaunga Pat Baker’s Behind the Tattooed Face. Featuring Brian Brake’s

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Hard lines, David Grant

The Crisis in New Zealand Schools Martin Hames Education Forum in Association with Dunmore Press, $29.95, ISBN 0864694105 My initial reaction was that The Crisis in New Zealand schools would be redolent with jargon and full of half-truths and misinformation

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Posted in Education, Non-fiction and Review

Poem — Jan Kemp

from Two tohunga waiata on one crescent “Writing is learning how to die” – Ilse Aichinger   Purely accidental the addresses were similar only the street numbers differed and the minds of the men and what they said under the

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Posted in Poem

In command of his talent, Lydia Wevers

The Ballad of Fifty-one  Bill Sewell HeadworX, $19.95, ISBN 0473092540 A couple of years ago I wrote a favourable review of Bill Sewell’s long poem Erebus (1999). He rang and thanked me after he read it; part of what he

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

A room of one’s own, Jane Tolerton

Away from Home: The Story of Victoria House Frances Porter Bridget Williams Books, $29.95, ISBN 1877242977 Girls “on the cusp of independence”, as the back cover of this book puts it, are the stuff of many a story. But that

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Posted in History, Review and Sociology

Strangely compelling, Jane Stafford

Tamar Deborah Challinor HarperCollins, $21.95, ISBN 1869504089 The Trespass Barbara Ewing Times Warner, $34.95, ISBN 0316860573 The Stove Rake Denise Keay Flamingo, $24.95, ISBN 1869504062 One of the most disconcerting aspects of the reading experience, encountered frequently at this more

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Posted in Fiction and Literature

Free speech (at a price), Lynley Hood

I used to believe that only pornographers, bigots, blasphemers and show-offs needed to worry about censorship in New Zealand. But, in the course of bringing A City Possessed into the world, I discovered that we all have to worry about

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