Blog Archives

One of Alf’s, Jack Lasenby

Somebodies and Nobodies Brian Turner Vintage, $34.95 ISBN 1869415078 Few autobiographies return us to scrutinising our own lives. I’ve just had – suffered – that experience reading Brian Turner’s Somebodies and Nobodies. It covers his first 25 years, from birth…
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Posted in Autobiography, Non-fiction, Review

The parent problem, Joan de Hamel

Recycled Sandy McKay Longacre Press, $14.95, ISBN 1887135496 My Dad the All Black Sandy McKay Longacre Press, $14.95, ISBN 1887135690 The Dare Club Vince Ford Longacre Press, $14.95, ISBN 1877135682 Stranded Jan Thorburn Mallinson Rendel, $17.95, ISBN 0908783671 Aunt Effie…
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Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature, Review, Young adults

Art as survival, David Eggleton

Pacific Art Niu Sila: the Pacific Dimension of Contemporary New Zealand Arts  ed Sean Mallon and Pandora Fulimalo Pereira Te Papa Press,$49.95, ISBN 0909010838 Robert Louis Stevenson, writing about Samoan culture over a century ago, expressed it thus: No occasion…
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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Pacific, Review

Capitalists or cavaliers, Stevan Eldred-Grigg

No Idle Rich; The Wealthy in Canterbury & Otago 1840-1918 Jim McAloon University of Otago Press, $39.95, ISBN 1877276235 Rich and poor have always fought a war of words – turning at times to fists, batons and cavalry charges –…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

Bad girls and bright boys, Raymond Huber

No Alarms Bernard Beckett Longacre, $16.95, ISBN 1877135755 Spider William Taylor Longacre, $16.95, ISBN 1877135607 These two young adult novels are character studies that reveal both the desperation and the potential of the teenage years. No Alarms is a fast-paced,…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Young adults

Nudging the unsuitable, Cilla McQueen

How To Make A Million Emma Neale Godwit, $22.95, ISBN 18692100X The Unfortunate Singer Rachel Bush Victoria University Press, $24.95, ISBN 0864734360 My reading’s re-creation, via language, of another poet’s perceptions, thoughts, aural sensibility and verbal skill, allows me a…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Against cupidity, Ian Johnstone

Five Holocausts Derek J Wilson Steele Roberts, $59.95, ISBN 1877228419 It’s been a drawn-out business preparing this review. For the first week after the great volume (472 pages long) bumped through the letterbox, it sat on the window sill, glowering…
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Posted in Non-fiction

Wicketkeeping religion, Neville Emslie

Spirit in a Strange Land (2002), edited by Paul Morris, Harry Ricketts, and Mike Grimshaw, is, apparently, the first anthology of New Zealand poetry to focus on “our spiritual experience”. The collection is a delight and a surprise. The appearance…
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Posted in Comment

Far and near: some thoughts on the poetry of Bill Sewell, Brian Turner

Fair-minded people like to see others given their due. That has been my experience, although I’ve often wondered about just what percentage of such fair-mindeds there are, especially in literary circles. Most writers I know have a list of other…
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Posted in Comment, Obituaries

The gods gathering, John Dickson

Valparaiso Bob Orr Auckland University Press, $21.95, ISBN 1869402820 Human Scale Tony Beyer Sudden Valley Press, $16.95, ISBN 0958368481 The first time I read these two books, I read fast to find out whether I would want to read them…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review
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