Blog Archives

The pix are choice, Piet de Jong

The Story of Beer: Beer and brewing – a New Zealand History Gordon McLauchlan, Penguin, $39.95 If this book were a swimming pool, you’d break your neck every time you dived into it. Shallow maybe, but it probably achieves all

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

Redesigning the collectivist rudder, Michael Cullen

Simon Upton’s extended, but muted, cry of anguish (New Zealand Books, December 1994) marks a major intellectual maturing on the part of the New Zealand National Party’s only serious thinker. Had it been written in mid-Victorian Britain one would confidently

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Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Electricities: Work in progress, Gregory O’Brien

I am sitting in an Auckland dealer gallery pondering some photographs of Michael Smither’s paintings, including one New Plymouth public garden scene called “Poet’s Bridge”, the title of which strikes an encouraging note – there can’t be too many such

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Posted in Art, Literature, Non-fiction, Poetry, Review

(Not?) fading, Colin James

Cuttings David Lange, Jonathan Hudson and Associates, no price given Ex-Prime Ministers can be a nuisance. Edward Heath pricked at Margaret Thatcher who demeaned John Major. Sir Keith Holyoake connived at the supplanting of his successor by Sir Robert Muldoon

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Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Now for Spinoza, Neville Bennett

Nobel Prize for literature  Recently I met Oe Kenzaburo, the Japanese novelist who won this year’s Nobel Prize for literature. To the envy of a group of bystanders, Mr Oe spoke to me and autographed my “meishi” or business card.

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Posted in Comment

Not much transferable, Anne French

Sleeping with the Angels Kevin Ireland, Penguin, $24.95 Years ago, before we went down with post-modernism, people used to ruminate about whether writers used the short story as an apprenticeship to the novel, or whether it was a different trade

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories

Pure Broadway, Roger Robinson

Nights in the Gardens of Spain Witi Ihimaera, Secker & Warburg, $34.95 On the way home years ago after seeing Waituhi (the Witi Ihimaera/ Ross Harris opera), I remember remarking that Witi could someday write the book for a great

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Something rich and strange, David Groves

Stand Alone Stan, vol 2 of the quartet A Land Fit for Heroes Phillip Mann, Victor Gollancz, price not available This is Phillip Mann’s seventh book of fiction, an imaginative and philosophically coherent body of work, spanning over a decade.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Returning to the wisdom of an early world, Harvey McQueen

Laura’s poems Laura Ranger, Godwit, $12.95 The childhood juvenilia of famous poets is usually interesting – the first uncertain steps, the incorporation of nursery rhyme, and yes, a naivety that is pleasing. But what if a child is already a

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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Making words explode, Philippa, Octavia and Laura Horgan

Laura’s Poems Laura Ranger, Godwit Publishing, $12.95 All three of us know Laura Ranger as a friend and we all agree on two things – she is a very nice person and a brilliant poet. She has endless ideas for

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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review
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