Blog Archives

Filling historical gaps, Claire Mabey

Daylight Second
Kelly Ana Morey
HarperCollins, $37.00,
ISBN 9781775540526

I am certain that I’ve seen Phar Lap. Somewhere, in the back of my memory, is a child’s-eye view of a very large horse in a glass case in a museum, somewhere. Claimed by Australians like pavlova and Crowded House, he’s up there on the shelf reserved for New Zealand national icons: All Blacks, Phar Lap, kiwifruit, Helen Clark.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Whose pain? Sarah Ross

Strip
Sue Wootton
Mākaro, $40.00,
ISBN 9780994123756

To spend the duration of Sue Wootton’s Strip in the presence of her protagonist, Dr Harvey Wright, is not an entirely comfortable experience. Harvey is a community GP who is dissatisfied in an unspectacular kind of way – a little ground down by the reality of keeping up a practice, a little paunchy, in a marriage grappling with unsuccessful IVF – when he becomes, in the novel’s opening page, a cartoonist. The medical magazine Health Matters takes on his Dr Doctor strip, a monthly funny of a Dad-joke kind, and it is for Harvey as if “a window had cracked open a tad and a puff of fresh air blown in”. Into his baggily comfortable existence, his new identity as a cartoonist injects a “flower-burst of elation”.

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Quality assured, Guy Somerset

Annual Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris (eds) Gecko Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781776570775 Would it kill Wellington children’s publisher Gecko Press to once – just once! – say “Sod it, really, who can be bothered?” and bung out some bit

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From a trio of veterans, Anna Mackenzie

The Severed Land Maurice Gee Penguin, $20.00, ISBN 9780143770244 Shooting Stars Brian Falkner Scholastic, $21.00, ISBN 9781775433606 Cool Nukes Des Hunt Scholastic, $20.00, ISBN 9781775433422 As a veteran of more than 50 years, Maurice Gee is one of New Zealand’s

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Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature, Review and Young adults

“The push and pull of parenting”, Catriona Ferguson

Billy Bird Emma Neale Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9780143770053 Emma Neale’s sixth novel, Billy Bird, probes the life of a troubled family – Liam, Iris and eight-year-old Billy. They are all reeling from a series of tragedies that have befallen their

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Bleak stuff under total control, Stephanie Johnson

The Wish Child Catherine Chidgey Victoria University Press, $30.00, IBSN 9781776560622 When Dutch writer Herman Koch visited New Zealand as part of the 2016 Auckland Writers’ Festival, he expressed his belief that WWII was losing its allure as a subject

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Mysteries past and present, John McCrystal

Days are like Grass Sue Younger Eunoia Publishing, $30.00, ISBN 9780994104762 Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley Danyl McLauchlan Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9781776560479 Claire is a paediatric surgeon, newly returned to Auckland, city of her birth, from London,

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Music boxes and willows, Edmund Bohan

The Song Journey T E Scott Scott Publishing, $37.00, ISBN 9780473328863 Napoleon’s Willow Joan Norlev Taylor RSVP Publishing, $30.00, ISBN 9780987658784 One of the attractions of historical fiction is its infinite variety. For far too long in New Zealand’s curious

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Familiar and strange, Charlotte Graham

Deleted Scenes for Lovers Tracey Slaughter Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9781776560585 In almost a decade in journalism, I’ve spent a long time sitting in courtrooms. The people whose lives play out in front of a judge seem at first

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Promising softly-spoken wonder, Thom Conroy

The Quiet Spectacular Laurence Fearnley Penguin, $38.00, ISBN 9780143574156 Laurence Fearnley occupies a position somewhere between national treasure and experimental writer. Her depictions of landscapes and her stylistic tendency toward restraint inspire praise, with reviews admiring Fearnley for how markedly

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