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Careful sympathy, Roger Robinson

Katherine Mansfield: The Story-teller Kathleen Jones Viking, $65.00, ISBN 9780670074358   Let’s hear Katherine Mansfield speak first: The cleanliness of Switzerland! Darling, it is frightening. The chastity of my lily-white bed! The waxy-fine floors! The huge bouquet of white lilac,…
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Posted in Biography, Literature, Non-fiction, Review

Going the distance, Roger Robinson

Conquerors of Time Lynn McConnell SportsBooks, UK£10.00, ISBN 9781899807888 January 5 was the centenary of the birth of Jack Lovelock. A cake was cut at Timaru Boys’ High School, and a plaque was unveiled at his unlikely birthplace, the literally-named…
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Posted in Review, Sport

Crimes, creeks, concealment, Roger Robinson

Access Road Maurice Gee Penguin Books, $37.00, ISBN 9780143202448 Parliaments and law courts used to “access”, though only “recess” survives in current usage. Incoming tides and the rising sun also accessed. These days we fashionably access our emails or information…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Treasure in Stevenson’s Pacific, Roger Robinson

Robert Louis Stevenson: Sophia Scarlett and Other Pacific Writings Robert Hoskins (ed) AUT Media, $25.99, ISBN 9780958282925 “Samoa was susceptible of no ‘style’, ” complained Henry James, cantankerous about his friend Robert Louis Stevenson’s decision to live in the faraway…
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Posted in Literature, Review, Short stories

Obituary — Meg Campbell

Meg (Aline Margaret) Campbell (1937-2007) Meg Campbell died at home in Pukerua Bay on November 17 2007, 24 hours before the launch of her sixth collection, Poems Adrift (Te Kotare Press). Meg Campbell’s poems have typically reflected on her often…
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Posted in Obituaries

The Gee-spot, Roger Robinson

Blindsight Maurice Gee Penguin, $34.95, ISBN 0143020234 Alice Ferry, narrator and co-protagonist of Maurice Gee’s new novel, is a mycologist – an expert on fungi. That is, her professional life is devoted to studying spongy, fragile, morbid life-forms that lurk…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Obituary, I A Gordon

I A Gordon (1908-2004) I A Gordon liked to be called “Prof”. It sounds quaint now, but, for him, the job was the man. The diverse roles of senior academic, scholar, literary leader and public intellectual defined him. With the…
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Posted in Obituaries

A spirit intense and rare, Doug Munro

Robert Louis Stevenson: His Best Pacific Writings ed Roger Robinson Streamline, $34.95, ISBN 0958210624 Everyone knows about Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), described by a contemporary as “a spirit intense and rare” and immortalised by Samoans as Tusitala (the teller of…
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Posted in Literature, Pacific, Review

Lord of the wings, Roger Robinson

Sky Dancer Witi Ihimaera Penguin, $34.95, ISBN 0143018698 If Witi Ihimaera is a national treasure, he is an impishly unpredictable one. At an age when he could be securely serene, he persists with youthful glee in taking literary risks. With…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Horace at Kapiti, Roger Robinson

Early in the second of the “Four Letters in Verse” that make up Alistair Te Ariki Campbell’s Poets in Our Youth, the poet is recalling for Harry Orsman how as a boarder at Weir House, I found myself in the…
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