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Making friends with Mansfield, Ashlee Nelson

Mansfield and Me: A Graphic Memoir
Sarah Laing
Victoria University Press, $35.00,
ISBN 9781776560691

The graphic form is in some ways a more complex undertaking than straightforward prose, for a graphic text must concern itself not only with the words of the narrative, but the art. Even more than this, the words and the art in a good graphic work should add to the meaning of the text by the way the two work skilfully together. In Mansfield and Me: A Graphic Memoir, both the words and the art belong to Sarah Laing. Laing is a writer, a cartoonist, and a graphic designer by trade and she has applied her skills to each in a uniquely beautiful way. Nor is this the only synthesis accomplished by the book: Mansfield and Me is both a biography, of sorts, of Mansfield, and an autobiographical narrative.

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Tea and comfort, Sarah Laing

The Hiding Places
Catherine Robertson
Black Swan, $37.00,
ISBN 9781775536420

Where is the line between popular and literary fiction? If the latter is rich with poetic language and literary references, then Catherine Robertson has crossed it. But if popular fiction aims to entertain and to comfort above all, then Robertson has a foot on either side. Her previous three novels fall firmly in the popular fiction camp, but The Hiding Places is a compelling hybrid, a novel that attempts to hold a mirror up to the world, at the same time as delighting in eccentric English characters and mock-Tudor mansions.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Changes of heart and mind, John McCrystal

Pentimento Rosemary Wildblood Wily Publications, $30.00, ISBN 9781927167090 The Fall of Light Sarah Laing Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9781775533030 Settling into a novel can be a lot like going away on holiday with people you don’t know, or settling into a

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Home and away, Nicholas Reid

Dead People’s Music Sarah Laing Vintage, $29.99, ISBN 9781869791087 Footnotes to Sex Mia Farlane Viking, $37.00, ISBN 9780670917938 Mother’s Day Laurence Fearnley Penguin, $28.00, ISBN 9780143011255 I am male, middle-aged, heterosexual and monogamous. The first two terms make me different

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Best of both worlds, Chris Else

The Six Pack Two  New Zealand Book Month with Whitireia Publishing, $6.00, ISBN  9781877192326 For Everyone Concerned  Damien Wilkins  Victoria University Press, $30.00,  ISBN 9780864735591 Coming Up Roses  Sarah Laing  Vintage, $27.99, ISBN 9781869419202  Luminous  Alice Tawhai  Huia Press, $35.00,

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories
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