Blog Archives

Lies, damned lies, and fiction, Mark Broatch

False River
Paula Morris
Penguin, $35.00
ISBN 9780143771630

A couple of years ago I asked English essayist and novelist Geoff Dyer if he thought a man he and his wife picked up while driving through a desert in the United States of America was a serious criminal. In the story, White Sands, a sign warned drivers not to stop for hitchhikers because of prisons nearby. They did, instantly regretted it, and had to drive off at a gas station to get rid of him. Dyer wasn’t willing to confirm that they really did pick up a hitchhiker. “Is it fiction, is it a story? If so, at what point does it become fiction? If it is fiction, why isn’t it behaving like we expect stories to behave?”

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Walking in more than one world, Paula Morris

Being Chinese Helene Wong Bridget Williams Books, $40.00, ISBN 9780947492380 Going Places: Migration, Economics and the Future of New Zealand Julie Fry and Hayden Glass BWB Texts, $15.00, ISBN 9780947492694 The First Migration: Maori Origins 3000 BC – AD 1450 Atholl Anderson

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

Supporting a long-haul life of writing, Paula Morris

Paula Morris (Ngati Wai), fiction writer and essayist, presents the Academy of New Zealand Literature/Te Whare Mātātuhi o Aotearoa.

Last year, when I returned to New Zealand after too many years away in the United Kingdom and United States of America, I did what I always do, wherever I live: I became embroiled.

The elements of the “literature sector” based in Auckland – publishers, festival, directors of the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) and Book Council – were having a series of conversations, and I infiltrated various drinks and meetings, keen to hear about what was going on. There was a new spirit of cooperation, perhaps, and a desire to make the most of ever-decreasing resources. In-fighting in a small market with low stakes is inevitable – irresistible, even – but in-fighting, parochialism and short-sighted self-interest seemed like relics of a different, simpler, stupider time.

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Posted in Comment

Looking for home, David Cohen

Barefoot Years
Martin Edmond
Bridget Williams Books, $15.00,
ISBN 9781927277676

On Coming Home
Paula Morris
Bridget Williams Books, $15.00,
ISBN 9780908321117

Somewhere in the course of his perceptive career, in what one assumes was a more or less idle moment, George Orwell turned his attention to the question of whether purchasing cigarettes or literature leaves a larger hole in the average reader’s pocket. To this cobweb-hung dilemma, the English essayist devoted all the remorseless attention with which Marx went about weighing the merits of capitalism and socialism; although there the comparison must end, for Orwell surely never strung a gilded sentence together that would cause a reader mental pain on account of its construction. His tentative conclusion: reading is indeed better for one’s financial health. Workers of the world, unlight!

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Posted in Essays, Non-fiction, Review

The place where stories begin, Paula Morris

Chappy
Patricia Grace
Penguin, $38.00,
ISBN 9780143572398

It’s over a decade since Patricia Grace’s last novel, the moving, cinematic Tu – an ambitious book about war and its temptations, adventures and devastations for the men who went and the families left behind. Sparked by the wartime diary of Grace’s father, a member of the Māori Battalion, Tu should be a major nation-defining motion picture by now (Grace has already adapted it for the theatre).

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Sex-free romance and YA cred, Paula Morris

Bugs
Whiti Hereaka
Huia, $25.00,
ISBN 9781775501336

When We Wake
Karen Healey
Allen & Unwin, $22.00,
ISBN 9781742378084

Awakening
Natalie King
Penguin, $20.00,
ISBN 9780143570790

Bugs, the eponymous protagonist of Whiti Hereaka’s first YA novel, is unimpressed with much of what her generation is expected to read. Her English teacher insists they discuss that infamous “human/werewolf/vampire love triangle … because the characters are our age, they’re going through what we’re going through, we can relate. Like half of us could relate to a white chick with a thing for dogs and dead dudes.”

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Young adults

How they probably thought, Nicholas Reid

Rangatira Paula Morris Penguin Books, $30.00, ISBN 978014565758   What is the value to us of historical novels? They are valuable only when they try to reconstruct the mentality of the past. Second-rate historical novels dress up modern characters in

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

“Awesome”. Or not — Paula Morris

Paula Morris works hard at presenting reviewers with the other cheek.  It’s 10 years since I wrote my first novel, Queen of Beauty, which makes it nine years since the book was published, and I started getting reviews. Only nine

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Tea and sympathy, Paula Morris

Lola Elizabeth Smither Penguin Books, $30.00, ISBN 9780143203650 Elizabeth Smither’s last novel was called Different Kinds of Pleasure, and its title offers a clue to the approach she takes in her fiction, and also to what she expects of her

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The uncomfortable and the familiar, Hamish Clayton

The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories Paula Morris (ed) Penguin Books, $40.00, ISBN 9780143006817 A new collection of contemporary New Zealand short stories from Penguin, edited by one of our foremost authors, surely signifies an important publishing

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Posted in Literature, Review, Short stories
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