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

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

Concentrated energy and irreverence, Diane Moir

Grievous Bodily Craig Harrison, Penguin Books, Auckland, 1991, $24.95 Grievous Bodily, subtitled A Very Funny Novel, has been written with the film in mind. Not any old film, but a very funny film with enough references, cross-references and sight and…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Poem — Hone Tuwhare

Shadow   Implicit above all and as pervasive as the Duende of Federico Garcia Lorca is the sense that I must tread the liveliest and loneliest of measures on my way to Rarohenga cocking a snook at the shadow of…
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Posted in Poem

An epic tale of inheritance, Charlotte MacDonald

The Hanging Sky Shirley Corlett, Mallinson Rendel, Wellington, 1990, $55 (Paper $39.95) Beginning when ‘Man’ (this is no tale of humankind) first stepped upon the land ‘that had been part of Gondwanaland’ and ending with the present, The Hanging Sky…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

The Ninth Floor, Margaret Hayward

The Ninth Floor – Inside the Prime Minister’s Office Harvey McQueen Penguin Books, Auckland, 1991, $24.95 The first few chapters of The Ninth Floor amazed me. I’m used to books about politics that hedge their bets. If they say something…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review
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