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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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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Streets, waters, winds, Kirsty Gunn

A Strange Beautiful Excitement: Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington 1888 – 1903
Redmer Yska
Otago University Press, $40.00,
ISBN 9780947522544

“There is a handful of writers” begins Vincent O’Sullivan’s introduction to a rare and illuminating account of the city in which Katherine Mansfield was born and grew up,

who at times seem to hold their admirers almost as much by the enigma of personality, or the curious weave of their lives, as they do by their first and sustained impact as writers … Each time we go back to a favourite story … there is that teasing urge to know what came before

In a few elegant sentences we have outlined for us a literary study of riveting depth and focus that, in drawing together history, biography, lyrical essay and reportage gives us back, in deeper colours, the life and work of one of those whose story we continue to be drawn towards, who takes her place amongst the world’s key modernists, a leading practitioner of the short story form, and here, too, a young New Zealand girl.

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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Not the Wairarapa? Shelagh Duckham Cox

Featherstone Kirsty Gunn Faber & Faber,  $34.95, ISBN 0571212476 The epigraph is an entry in an imagined handbook. It provides information you’d expect from a motoring guide about a small town you’ve never visited before, and it’s in the same format

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The haunt of guilty memory, Kim Worthington 

In Touch Janette Sinclair Secker and Warburg, $24.95, ISBN 790004011 Does This Make Sense to You? Renée Penguin, $24.95, ISBN 0 14024946X Rain  Kirsty Gunn Faber and Faber, $22.95, ISBN 0 571173004 The Strange Letter Z Debra Daley Penguin, $24.95,

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