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The thrills of genre-literacy, David Larsen

The New Animals
Pip Adam
Victoria University Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9781776561162

Pip Adam’s second novel is bewildering. I say this as praise, though also as fair warning.

On page one we meet Carla, who has stopped on her way somewhere to buy a cup of tea. She is not enjoying the experience:

The whole of St Kevin’s Arcade was awful now … it was clean and the café down the end of the arcade served ricotta doughnuts to men in suits and she couldn’t stand it. She’d lived in Auckland for 43 years and it still wasn’t finished. Nothing stayed in place.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

From near and far, Pip Adam

The Shark Party
Janet Colson
Escalator Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9780473295141

Run Thomas Run
Kate Carty
Escalator Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9780473295240

The Silver Gaucho
Jackie Ballantyne
The Doby Press, $35.00,
ISBN 9780473275259

In a lot of ways, these books represent work from distinctive places. All three are produced by publishers with interesting back stories. The copyright pages of The Shark Party and Run Thomas Run state that “This book was taken from manuscript to bookshelf by students of the Whitireia NZ publishing programme”. Escalator Press is an exciting development in the already successful and highly praised course which offers students hands-on experience in all aspects of publishing. There’s an article on the Whitireia website by Jd Nodder, a student on the project team for The Shark Party, which reflects on the process, offering a unique insight into the act of publishing. The Silver Gaucho is published by The Doby Press which is also the name of the publishing house where the protagonist of the book works. This creates all sorts of interesting echoes for the reader and plays with that wobbly line between narrator and author, “real” and real world. The acknowledgments include a thank you to Geoff Walker who “encouraged me to join the publishing revolution”.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Writing on the high wire, Sue McCauley

The Score
Adrienne Jansen
Escalator Press, $28.00,
ISBN 978047325328

The Virgin & the Whale
Carl Nixon
Vintage, $38.00,
ISBN 9781775533757

I’m Working on a Building
Pip Adam
Victoria University Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9780864738981

When more than one book is featured in a review, does the order in which those books are first read have an impact on the reviewer’s perceptions? I’m hoping it doesn’t. But I can’t quite rid myself of the feeling that, had I read them in reverse order, I might have felt better served.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

What am I doing here? Nicholas Reid

A Man Melting Craig Cliff Vintage, $29.99, ISBN 9781869791926   Everything We Hoped For Pip Adam Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780864736253   Once upon a Time in Aotearoa Tina Makereti Huia, $30.00, ISBN 978186969166   He ran his right

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Short stories
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