Letters – Issue 102

A radical thought

Here’s a radical thought for Chris Else (NZB, Autumn 2013). Perhaps a book reviewer might endeavour to say a couple of pertinent things about the book under review. If that book happens to be a major new anthology of New Zealand literature, then maybe he could give us an idea of who is in the book and what he thinks of the selections. If the anthology has a particular aim – in this case, to rescue the literature of the colonial period from its “critical eclipse” at the hands of Curnow and the cultural nationalists – then it might make sense to mention it. Instead of this, your reviewer prefers to expatiate on the judging process for the Montana Book Awards and on the merits of a recent anthology of Great Sporting Moments. That you should publish such a shoddy and definitively useless review under the heading, “The quality question”, at least argues, I hope, a sense of irony on your part.

Liam McIlvanney

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