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Moral force, John Campbell

The Mighty Totara: The Life and Times of Norman Kirk
David Grant
Random House, $50.00,
ISBN 9781775535799

I was 10 when Norman Kirk died. It was the first death I had ever registered. When the news came through, my parents became so silent (our house was never silent) that I remember it 40 years on: the radio and an absence. My memory also contains a physical location. It is the staircase between the living-room and our bedrooms. I am sitting on it, looking down, and my parents are below me at the big table. It is a photo in my head. An external sense, as if someone else was there to describe it, of me waiting for them to make sense of it all, as parents always do. But they can’t. I tell that story now because Norman Kirk’s death often seems to occasion the sharp remembrance of a closer loss, even in people who never met him. Mine is an almost story book recollection that I carry with me.

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Posted in Biography, History, Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Bovver boys

What they wrote A taste of contributor comments over our first 20 years   On New Zealand Books My hope is that New Zealand Books will provide a forum for frank discussion that dares to rise above the suffocating confines

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Posted in Comment

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

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories

A mighty little innings, John Campbell

How to Catch a Cricket Match Harry Ricketts Awa Press, $24.99, ISBN 9780958662903 Harry Ricketts’ game plan is simple. He and a Victoria University colleague, Tony (like a character in a Russian novel he has no surname but a defining

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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, Sport

Good old Wanganui, John Campbell

Dancing with Beelzebub Michael Laws HarperCollins, $29.95, ISBN 1 86950 324 4 Michael Laws, we are told by the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, wrote Dancing with Beelzebub at the rate of a thousand words a day. “That’s about my limit

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Modern, John Campbell

Full Circle: A Modern Morality Tale Bob Jones Hazard Press, $24.95, ISBN 1877161764   Modern Morality Tale.” Let’s begin with those  words.  And of those words, there’s one in particular I really want you to think about: ”Modern”. “Modern” is a

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review
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