Blog Archives

The ongoing stream of history, Ranginui Walker

The People of Many Peaks, 1769-1869 Claudia Orange (ed), Bridget Williams Books and Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1991, $35.00 This book contains the biographies of 161 notable Maori leaders between 1769 and 1869 who appear in the first volume…
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Posted in Biography, Māori, Non-fiction, Review

In praise of difficult women, Annabel Cooper

Who is Sylvia? The Diary of a Biography Lynley Hood John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1990, $29.95 Sylvia! The Biography of Sylvia Ashton-Warner Lynley Hood Viking, Auckland 1988, $39.95, Paper $24.95 Who is Sylvia? is a day-by-day account of Lynley Hood’s work,…
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Posted in Biography, Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

High standards and fine judgement, Marian Minson

Opera in New Zealand: Aspects of History and Performance,  Adrienne Simpson (ed), Witham Press (PO Box 28-074), Wellington, 1990, $24.95 Since her recent return to New Zealand, Wellington musical historian Adrienne Simpson has made a strong impact with regular talks…
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Posted in Music, Non-fiction, Review

Autobiography of grace and clarity, Andrew Mason

Bonfires in the Rain Lauris Edmond Bridget Williams Books, Wellington, 1991, $27.95 In outline, the story Lauris Edmond has to tell in this, her second volume of autobiography, would be typical of many New Zealand women who married about the…
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Posted in Autobiography, Non-fiction, Review

The sparks which ignite music from Boethius to Bob Dylan, Lyell Cresswell

The Concept of Music Robin Maconie Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1990, £22.50, $91.95 The broad scope of Robin Maconie’s conjectural inquiry into music is succinctly expressed in his first chapter: ‘Music is an information process working simultaneously on many different levels,…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

Civilised, precise and somewhat quizzical, Bill Sewell

Winter Walk at Morning Iain Lonie, Victoria University Press, Wellington, 1991, $16.95 The cover of this posthumous collection shows a pair of dividers resting on a chart, which on closer examination turns out to juxtapose Western Scotland and an unidentified…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Music as a cultural force: the lineaments of a tradition, John Roberts

The Oxford History of New Zealand Music John Mansfield Thomson Oxford University Press, Auckland, 1991, $69.95 This eagerly awaited book will take a high place in the company of recent reference works. The only cause for regret is that the…
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Posted in History, Music, Non-fiction, Review

To make the world intelligible, Max Anderson

Selected Poems 1940-1989 Allen Curnow Viking hardback, $49.95 (Penguin paperback, Auckland, 1990, $27.95) When Allen Curnow published Continuum, his collected poems 1972-1988, he organized the book back-to-front: most recent poems at the beginning, earliest at the end. The selection, a…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Doors into recent fiction, Nelson Wattie

Vital Writing 1: New Zealand Stories & Poems, 1989-1990 Andrew Mason (ed), Godwit, Auckland, 1990, $29.95 Closing the File and Other Stories: American Express Short Story Award Winners, 1984-89, Godwit, Auckland, 1990, $24.95 New Zealand publishers love anthologies, presumably because…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Poetry, Review, Short stories

Forging a political language, Tony Simpson

In his 1946 essay ‘Politics and the English Language’ George Orwell remarks that ‘one ought to recognise that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting…
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Posted in Comment
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