Blog Archives

Balancing pathos, Janet Wilson

This Mortal Boy: A Novel
Fiona Kidman
Penguin Random House, $38.00,
ISBN 9780143771807

In This Mortal Boy (with its subtle, sad echo of Brendan Behan’s novel, Borstal Boy), Fiona Kidman gives a semi-fictional reconstruction of the highly publicised case of the “jukebox” murder that took place in Auckland in May 1955. Committed by a young Northern Irish immigrant, Albert (Paddy) Black, against Alan Jacques, another immigrant who had earlier beaten up Black, the murder went to trial, and Black received a verdict of guilty which, at that time, meant the death penalty. An appeal and the petition raised by his mother in Belfast of 12,000 signatures, failed, and Black was hanged on 5th December 1955. The death penalty had been reinstated in New Zealand by the National government in 1950, following a particularly brutal murder. Black’s was the penultimate case of execution before the Labour government commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment in 1957, and it was finally abolished in 1961 with 10 National members of parliament crossing the floor.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Poem — Fiona Kidman

Grass Street 2000-2015

See more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Poem

Reverse engineering, John McCrystal

The Infinite Air
Fiona Kidman
Vintage
ISBN 9781869797928

Of all the technological accomplishments in a century studded with them, the advances made in heavier-than-air aviation between 1903 and 1939 must have seemed to those alive at the time to be the most symbolic of the perfectibility of humanity. When the French inventor and pioneering aviator Louis Blériot managed the first aerial crossing of the English channel, it fired the European imagination. WWI provided an acceleration of aircraft technology, and sparked a golden age of aviation. Aero clubs sprang up all over England, and a plane and the ability to fly it became de rigueur for the well-to-do.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Late songs, Roger Robinson

The Trouble with Fire Fiona Kidman Vintage, $36.99, ISBN 9781869793593   A woman approaching her 50th wedding anniversary flies from Auckland to meet her aid-volunteer husband in Bangkok, and they fly on to Hanoi, where he becomes seriously ill with

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories

Collecting and restoring, John Horrocks

Where Your Left Hand Rests Fiona Kidman Godwit, $29.00, ISBN 9781869621773   As Fiona Kidman points out herself, it is half a lifetime ago since her first book of poems, Honey and Bitters, was published in 1975. Her new collection

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

A dollop of literary life, Sue McCauley

Beside the Dark Pool Fiona Kidman Vintage, $37.99, ISBN 9781869790592 Such a seductive title for a memoir, hinting at murky depths of angst, turmoil and scandal. The stuff we hope, in fact expect, to find in the autobiography of a

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Skewed unforgettable normalities, Catharina van Bohemen

At the End of Darwin Road – A Memoir  Fiona Kidman Vintage, $34.99, ISBN 9781869419448 Muck: A Memoir Craig Sherborne Victoria University Press, $30.00,  ISBN 9780864735683 Digging for Spain: A Writer’s Journey Penelope Todd Longacre Press, $29.99, ISBN 9781877361968 “The

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Same notes, different tunes, Jenny DeBell

The Six Pack: Winning Writing from New Zealand Book Month 2006  John Campbell (introduction) New Zealand Book Month with Whitireia Publishing, $6.00, ISBN 1877192279 The Best New Zealand Fiction 3 Fiona Kidman (ed) Vintage, $34.99, ISBN 1869417976 Sunday 22: The

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories

Poem — Fiona Kidman

Marilyn at Malibu   In that other country the one we call home on the faded apricot wall of my study hangs a great big silver framed portrait of Marilyn Monroe at Malibu standing on a terrace drinking champagne out

See more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Poem
Search by category
Recent issues: subscriber-only access

Subscribe to NZ Books to access the issues above