Blog Archives

No easy heroics, James Norcliffe

Shadow of the Mountain  Anna Mackenzie Longacre Press, $18.99, ISBN 9781877460005 Smashed  Mandy Hager Random House, $18.99, ISBN 9781869419424 Gool  Maurice Gee Puffin, $19.95, ISBN 9780143304005   Each of these kidult novels tells a compelling story in a tightly written yet…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Young adults

The Dr Johnson of New Zealand literature, Michael Hulse

Book Self C K Stead Auckland University Press, $38.99,  ISBN 9781869404123 It isn’t in the spirit of the age that a Goethe will still attract his Eckermann, or a Dr Johnson his Boswell. A companion free of all other commitments,…
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Posted in Literature, Non-fiction, Review

Mermaids, miners and mystics, Anne Else

Saltskin Louise Moulin Black Swan, $27.99, ISBN 9781869419608 Ribbons of Grace Maxine Alterio Penguin Books, $35.00, ISBN 9780143006442 Acts of Love Susan Pearce Victoria University Press, $29.99, ISBN 9780864735652 Three first (or at any rate, first published) novels, all by…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Championing the local, Margot Schwass

Margot Schwass pays tribute to Ruth Dallas who died earlier this year. Silent bush, rain-soaked paddocks, solitary farmhouses hunkered down beneath black macrocarpas …. The landscapes so intensely reflected in the work of the late Ruth Dallas are very recognisably…
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Posted in Comment

A damn good shake up, Beryl Fletcher

Caging Skies Christine Leunens Vintage, $27.99, ISBN 9781869419578 Remember Me Derek Hansen HarperCollins, $34.99, ISBN 9780732287160 Miss Me a Lot Of Louise Wareham Leonard Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780864735553 In New Zealand Books Autumn 2008, Elizabeth Caffin writes that…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Not getting it, Christina Barton

The Big Picture: A History of New Zealand Art from 1642 Hamish Keith Godwit, $49.99, ISBN 9781869621322 I have thought for a long time that a series on the history of art in New Zealand would make for good television…
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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review

Into the labyrinth, Nicholas Reid

The Crocus Hour Charlotte Randall  Penguin Books, $28.00, ISBN 9780143008927 Whatever criticism you make of Charlotte Randall’s novels, you cannot say that she has no sense of place. In The Crocus Hour, as in her four earlier novels,  she ventures…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

A child’s eye view Gavin Bishop

Back and Beyond: New Zealand Painting for the Young and Curious Gregory O’Brien Auckland University Press, $34.99,  ISBN 9781869404048 This is a delicious book. As a child, I would have loved it. It reminds me of children’s books that were…
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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review

Unstill life, Linley Boniface

Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life Jill Trevelyan Te Papa Press, $69.99, ISBN 9781877385391 Reading Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life, it’s difficult not to be periodically overcome by frustration at Angus’ exasperating personality. The picture that emerges is of a woman…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Behind the curtain, Michael Nicolaidi

The Theatre Royal: An Illustrated History Clerestory Press, $50.00,  ISBN 9780958288804 Grand temples of pleasure and entertainment, rather like temples of prayer and meditation, have the power to galvanise a particular kind of angel when they come under threat of…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review
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