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Fathoms deep, James Robins

The New Ships
Kate Duignan
Victoria University Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9781776561889

It’s a deeply distressing thing to find the word “bugger” on the first page of a New Zealand writer’s novel. Rather like opening some French fiction to discover “sacré bleu!” taunting you. The instant, visceral fear is of cliché and kitsch, that grating Kiwi patois so maladapted to literature. Or, worse, calling to mind that old television ad of the grimy sheepdog grunting the word from the back of a ute.

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Writing in circles, Kate Duignan

Caroline’s Bikini
Kirsty Gunn
Faber and Faber, $33.00,
ISBN 9780571339334

Caroline’s Bikini is a text written by Emily Stuart, in which she “takes dictation” from her oldest friend, Evan Gordonston, recently returned from the United States to London, and helplessly in love with his landlady, Caroline Beresford. Caroline is (the novel tells us so) Laura to Evan’s Petrarch, Beatrice to his Dante, Dorothea to his Will Ladislaw. There’s even a Casaubon, Caroline’s husband David, closeted away with his Greek and Latin texts. 

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People like us, Jane Westaway

Holy Days Joy Cowley Penguin, $34.95, ISBN 0141004169 Breakwater Kate Duignan Victoria University Press, $24.95, ISBN 0864734174 Floating the Fish on Bamboo Adrienne Jansen HarperCollins, $24.95, ISBN 1869503988 Domestic realism is the meat and potatoes of contemporary fiction. So it

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Posted in Fiction, Literature
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