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Playing at home, John McCrystal

Pearly Gates: A Novel Owen Marshall Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9780143773153 “Pride goeth before a fall”, so the proverb runs, “and an haughty spirit before destruction”. The prideful one in Owen Marshall’s latest novel is Pat Gates, universally known as “Pearly”.…
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Where perspectives collide, John McCrystal 

The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke Tina Makereti Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9780143771562 You don’t have to be a good old-fashioned structuralist to look into the patterns of history and see the tectonic grind of ideas reflected in the rippling of…
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The grimness of contemporary realism, John McCrystal

Five Strings Apirana Taylor Anahera Press, $35.00, ISBN 9780473389482 Iceland Dominic Hoey Steele Roberts, $35.00, ISBN 978094749343I It’s that time of the three-yearly cycle again. A billboard has gone up near my house promoting the political party that has, for…
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Mysteries past and present, John McCrystal

Days are like Grass Sue Younger Eunoia Publishing, $30.00, ISBN 9780994104762 Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley Danyl McLauchlan Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9781776560479 Claire is a paediatric surgeon, newly returned to Auckland, city of her birth, from London,…
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Unearthing skeletons, John McCrystal

Daughters of Messene Maggie Rainey-Smith Mākaro Press, $35.00, ISBN 9780994117267 Something Else David Parkyn (Sally Griffin illus) Piedog Press, $38.00, ISBN 9780473321505 “There are only two or three human stories,” as Willa Cather once said, “and they go on repeating…
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“Shocking the model” John McCrystal

Five Minutes Alone Paul Cleave Penguin, $38.00, ISBN 9780143572312 The Legend of Winstone Blackhat Tanya Moir Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9781775537755 MiSTORY Philip Temple Font Publishing, $35.00, ISBN 978047328204 You could argue that the artistic imagination is like one of those…
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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…
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Changes of heart and mind, John McCrystal

Pentimento Rosemary Wildblood Wily Publications, $30.00, ISBN 9781927167090 The Fall of Light Sarah Laing Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9781775533030 Settling into a novel can be a lot like going away on holiday with people you don’t know, or settling into a…
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The great sucking void, John McCrystal

Soon Charlotte Grimshaw Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9781869799984 Ever since the 1999 publication of her first novel, Provocation, Charlotte Grimshaw’s writing has attracted a cloud of admirers and a liberal garnishing of awards. She is a novelist by instinct, if not…
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Brave new world of publishing, John McCrystal

The Spanish Helmet Greg Scowen Whare Rama Books, $32.99, ISBN 9781463558482   Coast David Carnegie Young Vanguard Press, $38.00, ISBN 9781843866855   No Second Chance Mark Stephenson Steele Roberts, $29.99, ISBN 9781877577345   Zhu Mao Mark Sweet Huia, $30.00, ISBN…
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