Blog Archives

“Life in one’s mouth”, Peter Bland

Louis Johnson: Selected Poems ed Terry Sturm Victoria University Press, $29.95, ISBN 086473350X There’s a short poem by Louis Johnson which I’ve always admired. It’s called “Intemperance” and it tells us a lot in a very short space, both about…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Keyboard practice, C K Stead

C K Stead takes a new look at Janet Frame’s The Pocket Mirror. Janet Frame’s The Pocket Mirror (published by Braziller in New York in 1967 and here by Pegasus in 1968) has the appearance, not of a nervous first…
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Posted in Opinion

Elsie Locke, Hugh Laracy

Elsie Locke (1912-2001) History-writing properly done is a complicated business, calling in varying measures and forms for effort, skill and artistry. It requires diligent research to gather the factual raw material. It requires subtlety to assemble the shards of information…
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Posted in Comment

The federation game, Colin James

Waltzing with Matilda: Should New Zealand join Australia? Bob Catley Dark Horse Publishing, $29.95, ISBN 0958214611 A chilling graph presented to Auckland business leaders on 14 May undermines Bob Catley’s thesis. Auckland, the graph showed, lost 3.4% in GDP per…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Variations on the familiar, Lawrence Jones

Ellie and the Shadow Man  Maurice Gee Penguin Books, $34.95, ISBN 0141004177 Responses to Maurice Gee’s Ellie and the Shadow Man, his fourteenth adult novel and his twenty-sixth book, will probably vary between the extremes marked by two of my…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Odds on, Joseph Romanos

Two Over Three on Goodtime Sugar: The New Zealand TAB turns 50 David Grant Victoria University Press, $49.95, ISBN 0864734018 David Grant’s history of the Totalisator Agency Board should come with a warning: it is not to be approached by…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

Editorial – Issue 49

Two cheers for biography Biography doesn’t always get a good press. It has been Said to have “added a new terror to death”, while Oscar Wilde remarked that “[e]very great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is always Judas…
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Posted in Editorial

Antipodean apparatchik, Barry Gustafson

Tomorrow Comes the Song: A Life of Peter Fraser Michael Bassett and Michael King Penguin Books, $49.95, ISBN 0140297936 The late Professor John Roberts once told me a story about his father “Big Jim” Roberts, nicknamed “the uncrowned King of…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

More epic than lyric, Mary Macpherson

Earth Colours: Selected Poems L E Scott HeadworX, $24.95, ISBN 0473068036 Declamatory and full of urgent desire to thrust the reader into different realities, L E Scott’s poems stride across big subjects. Earth Colours reflects 30 years of Scott’s poems…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Werewolf beneath the tweed, Barbara Else

Time for a Killing  Shonagh Koea Vintage, $24.95, ISBN 1869414659 Over the last few years, I’ve declined invitations to review New Zealand books for two reasons. First, the local world of writing and publishing is very small. If you don’t…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review
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