Blog Archives

A critical lamp in a dark world, Helen Watson White

Charles Brasch: Journals 1958-1973 Charles Brasch, selected by Peter Simpson Otago University Press, $60.00, ISBN 9781988531144  “How many existences one leads at once,” wrote Dunedin poet, critic, patron and Landfall editor Charles Brasch in 1958:  I am here with LF…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Review

“Lashings of empathy”, Tina Shaw

From the Ashes Deborah Challinor HarperCollins, $37.00, ISBN 9781460754122 What You Wish For Catherine Robertson Black Swan, $38.00, ISBN 9780143772811 Discovering that From the Ashes is a sequel to Fire, Challinor’s 2006 novel, makes sense of this novel’s title. Fire…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Poem – C K Stead

Tohunga Crescent Across our street the Allen Curnow house sold and garden-tidied and refurbished, respectably letting as “AirBnB” is home to wild parties, and just once a riot bringing cop cars, a paddy wagon, pepper spray and more than one…
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Making it and making it up, C K Stead

Life as a Novel – A Biography of Maurice Shadbolt, Volume I, 1932-1973 Philip Temple David Ling, $45.00, ISBN 9781927305447 Recently, I have been writing an autobiography and consequently hunting out old letters. One I found, written to Kay from…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Unpleasant truths, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins

Theo Schoon: A Biography Damian Skinner Massey University Press, $60.00, ISBN 9780995100176 Hudson and Halls: The Food of Love Joanne Drayton Otago University Press, $50.00, ISBN 9781988531267 There has long been an uneasiness on the part of local biographers when…
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Posted in Art, Biography, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

A singular genius, Andrew Wood

Colours of a Life: The Life and Times of Douglas MacDiarmid Anna Cahill Mary Egan Publishing, $80.00, ISBN 9780473423834 Over the decades, New Zealand has lost a tragic amount of cultural talent overseas for many reasons: the old bashing machine…
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Posted in Art, Biography, Non-fiction

Private life and public record, Kate Hannah

The Unconventional Career of Dr Muriel Bell Diana Brown Otago University Press, $35.00, ISBN 9781988531304 Perhaps some are surprised that a scientist whose impact on New Zealand’s health, particularly the health of women and children, could have been, up until…
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Posted in Biography, Health, Non-fiction, Review

A view of the inner cemeteries, Reuben Johnson

Mind that Child: A Medical Memoir Simon Rowley with Adam Dudding Penguin, $35.00, ISBN 9780143771982 We can Make a Life: A Memoir of Family, Earthquake and Courage Chessie Henry Victoria University Press, $35.00, ISBN 9781776561940 Dr Simon Rowley is a…
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Posted in Health, Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

The games we play, Owen Mann

Sport and the New Zealanders: A History Greg Ryan and Geoff Watson Auckland University Press, $65.00, ISBN 9781869408831 On Christmas Day last year, many people around the country would have ripped open a well-wrapped gift to discover a sportsperson’s biography…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, Sociology, Sport

Poem – Primo Levi

Singing … But when we began to sing Our songs, senseless and good, It seemed then that everything Stood as it once had stood. The days were merely days. Seven made a week. Killing we thought was wicked. Of dying…
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