Blog Archives

The theatre of life, Susan Budd

Iridescence Peter Wells Random House, $34.95, ISBN 1869415833 With its gorgeously frilled and furbelowed Victorian crinolines, melodrama and high camp, Iridescence is strongly reminiscent of Peter Wells’s screenplay for Desperate Remedies, which blew the mandatory bucolic naturalism of New Zealand…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Telling it like it is, Brent Southgate

I am an Insect Simon Pollard Reed, $19.95, ISBN 1869487400 The Life-size Guide to New Zealand Wildflowers Andrew Crowe Penguin, $24.95, ISBN 0143018477 Pick Up a Pack: a guide to tramping and camping the New Zealand way Keith Olsen Reed,…
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Posted in Biography, Children, Literature, Natural History, Non-fiction, Review

Politics and culture between the sheets, Phil Kawana

Huia Short Stories Five: Contemporary Maori Fiction [editor not given] Huia, $29.95, ISBN 186969032X Without Reservation – Indigenous Erotica (ed) Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm Huia, $34.95, ISBN 0973139625   Both these books from Huia are collections of indigenous literature, but the similarities…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Māori, Review, Short stories

Risky business, Bernadette Hall

Young Knowledge: The Poems of Robin Hyde (ed) Michele Leggott Auckland University Press, $49.99, ISBN 1869402987   I have known griefs o more than three – Tooth aching, Child-bearing, And the voice breaking Those silent frontiers Of dream, held hazardously.…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Journeys and sympathies, Anna Jackson

Home Boys Bernard Beckett Longacre Press, $18.95, ISBN 1877135887 Lin and the Red Stranger Ken Catran Random House, $16.95, ISBN 1869415779 Tiggie Tompson’s Longest Journey Tessa Duder Penguin, $16.95, ISBN 0143318128   Finding myself questioning the whole genre of young…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Young adults

Angels in the meat-grinder, Les Cleveland

While You’re Away: New Zealand Nurses at War 1899-1948 Anna Rogers Auckland University Press, $39.95, ISBN 1869403010 Nursing might be one of the few remaining professions not entirely driven by greed or self-interest. Anna Rogers assembles a chronicle of service…
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Posted in Health, History, Non-fiction, Review, War

Poem — Fleur Adcock

Historian dies in fiery crash (i.m. Michael King, 1945-2004)   And all our competence in words fails us. When the horror’s beyond exaggeration, go back. Try not to imagine it. But not only “historian”: his wife too – and just…
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Posted in Obituaries, Poem

The dark night of the decent bloke, Peter Wells

The Scornful Moon Maurice Gee Penguin, $34.95, ISBN 0143018752 Anyone who has heard Maurice Gee read can summon up his tone of voice: discerning, patient and artful. He is a shrewd observer of the human condition with, at times, an…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Their side of the story, Megan Hutching

Fighting with the enemy: New Zealand POWs and the Italian Resistance  Susan Jacobs Penguin, $34.95, ISBN 0143018620 On 10 July 1943 Allied forces attacked Italy, landing in Sicily. Two weeks later the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was overthrown in an…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, War

The historian who opened our eyes, Jock Phillips

Michael King I got to know Michael King as a student at Victoria University in the mid-1960s. It was an exciting time. There was marching in the streets, heated late-night discussions over instant coffee. We were getting out from under.…
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Posted in Comment
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