Blog Archives

Being Minnie, Lawrence Patchett

The Day She Cradled Me Sacha de Bazin Black Swan, $38.00, ISBN 9781869797744   The Day She Cradled Me is about Minnie Dean, the Southland “baby-farmer” hanged for infanticide in 1895. Therefore it has the problem of any such novel…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Defuzzification, Helen Sword

Helen Sword takes a stand against horrible academic prose. When I tell people I have recently published a book called Stylish Academic Writing (Harvard University Press, 2012), they usually crack a smile. Like military and intelligence or jumbo and shrimp,…
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Posted in Comment

Gamelans and paldongs, Sue Court

World Music is Where We Found it: Essays by and for Allan Thomas Wendy Pond and Paul Wolffram (eds) Victoria University Press, $40.00, ISBN 9780864736949   World Music is Where We Found it is not a collection of essays in…
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Posted in Essays, Music, Non-fiction, Review

A life of relative freedom, Penelope Todd

The Open World   Stephanie Johnson Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9781869797836   The Open World was my introduction to Stephanie Johnson’s substantial body of work. This is a complex novel, not easy to consider as a whole, or to sum up in…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Travels with a paintbrush, Iain Sharp

Tuhituhi: William Hodges, Cook’s Painter in the South Pacific Laurence Simmons Otago University Press, $60.00, ISBN 9781877578175   In the last decades of the 20th century, with political correctness at its zenith, you could scarcely mention the British Empire in…
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Posted in Art, History, Non-fiction, Review

Raw surfaces of a mind, Elizabeth Smither

Your Unselfish Kindness: Robin Hyde’s Autobiographical Writings Mary Edmond-Paul (ed) Otago University Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781877578212   It’s natural in a densely-packed book to look at the photographs first. Robin Hyde was intensely interested in houses and rooms and their…
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Posted in Autobiography, Non-fiction, Review

Rugby, shopping and Shortland Street, Tony Schirato

Ruling Passions: Essays on Just About Everything Nick Perry Otago University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781877372896   One of the main functions of a book review is to give readers an idea as to whether or to what extent the title…
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Posted in Media, Non-fiction, Review

Fresh frames, Lawrence Jones

Gorse is Not People: New and Uncollected Stories Janet Frame Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9780143567707   The title story of this posthumous collection touches a memory almost 30 years old: in 1984 reading An Angel at My Table, the second volume…
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Posted in Autobiography, Literature, Non-fiction, Review, Short stories

What’s been lost, Louise O’Brien

The Silence Beyond: Selected Writings Michael King (introduction by Rachael King) Penguin, $42.00, ISBN 9780143565567   The Passionless People Revisited Gordon McLauchlan David Bateman, $30.00, ISBN 9781869537906   The Silence Beyond is a new and posthumous selection of rare and…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

Travels and clippings, Nadine France

Graft Helen Heath Victoria University Press, $28.00, ISBN 9780864737762   Beauties of the Octagonal Pool Gregory O’Brien Auckland University Press, $28.00, ISBN 9781869405793   Just Then Harry Ricketts Victoria University Press, $25.00, ISBN 9780864738226   To graft is “to fix…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review
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