Blog Archives

Imported and adapted, Gavin McLean

The Chapman Legal Family Peter Spiller, Victoria University Press, $39.95 Waikato law professor Peter Spiller’s book examines the legal careers of Henry Samuel Chapman and his two sons, Frederick, the first New Zealand-born Supreme Court judge, and Martin, founder of…
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Posted in Biography, History, Non-fiction, Review

The fall of a decent joker, Michael Gifkins

The Autobiography of My Father Martin Edmond, Auckland University Press, $29.95 There is an entry in the book of New Zealand literary politics which reads: Edmond, Trevor, schoolteacher, husband of Lauris, poet (late-flowering); father of (inter alia) Martin, scriptwriter, see…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Reading pictures, Jane Clendon

Colonial Constructs: European Images of Maori 1840-1914 Leonard Bell, Auckland University Press, $69.95 The language of art historical discourse has become more complex and demanding since Leonard Bell published his first book, The Maori in European Art, in 1980. Now,…
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Posted in History, Māori, Non-fiction, Review

Who to leave out – at last, Ian Richards

The Oxford Book of New Zealand Short Stories Vincent O’Sullivan (ed), Oxford University Press, $39.95 Anthologies used to be an occasion for cautious celebration in the New Zealand literary circle. Historical anthologies clearly showed that with every writer we were…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories

Publisher Profiles 5, Staying alive: the house of McIndoe, Lynley Hood

There’s been a subtle change in the south. Over the past month, without any fanfare, Dunedin-based John McIndoe Ltd – the South Island’s biggest publishing house – has become McIndoe Publishers. The three women who now run the firm wanted…
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Posted in Imprints

Big questions: part answers, James Norcliffe

Why Things Fall Chris Else, Tandem, $24.95 Love and War Elspeth Sandys, Vintage, $24.95 Jim’s Elvis Colleen Reilly, John McIndoe, $19.95 Why Things Fall at first glance seems quite a departure from Chris Else’s earlier ficciones, Dreams of Pythagoras (1981).…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Overcoming entomo‑ignorance, Dale Williams

A Houseful of Strangers Patrick Dale, Collins, $19.95 (139 pp) Insects’ lib – the author attempts to defend the smaller occupants of our home environment against what Ruud Kleinpaste calls ‘entomo‑ignorance’. Subtitled ‘Living with the common creatures of the New…
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Posted in Māori, Natural History, Non-fiction, Review

Cryptic crosswords and intellectual judo, Chris Else

Black Rainbow Albert Wendt, Penguin, $29.95 Octavio’s Last Invention Michael Morrissey, Brick Row, $27.95 The world of Black Rainbow is a futuristic parody based on New Zealand Pakeha values, a world without crime, poverty or unemployment founded on a comfortable,…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Unique, fascinating and vulnerable, Alan Mark

Natural History of New Zealand Nic Bishop, Hodder & Stoughton, $59.95 Yet another natural history of New Zealand, I hear you say, but this one is sufficiently different, attractive and up-to-date to appeal to the wide audience that is known…
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Posted in Natural History, Non-fiction, Review

Heed the tale, not the teller, Ruth Brown

One Night Out Stealing Alan Duff, Tandem Press, $24.95 Affluence, it seems, is vindicated. Whereas Once Were Warriors exposed the anguish of the dispossessed, One Night Out Stealing is more concerned with reassurances for the well-to-do that their good fortune…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review
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