Blog Archives

Sweet recklessness, Kiran Dass

The Salted Air  Thom Conroy Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9781775538820 “We strut about imagining heroism and lucky saves, but we’ve got it all wrong. Catastrophe arrives when the air is warm and people are everywhere … .” So observes the keenly…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Mystery, wisdom and complication, Gregory O’Brien

The Lives of Coat Hangers Sudesh Mishra University of Otago Press, $25.00, ISBN 9781927322376 “A thing is a hole in a thing it is not.” I was reminded of American sculptor Carl Andre’s words, as I read Sudesh Mishra’s remarkable…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Watching a craftsman, Briar Lawry

Strait Men and Other Tales Murray Edmond Steele Roberts, $30.00, ISBN 9781927242988 Strait Men and Other Tales by Murray Edmond is a tricky beast. Its slim spine belies the size and style of the stories within – there’s nothing that…
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Posted in Literature, Review, Short stories

“Pure, straight sound”, Elizabeth Kerr  

Peter Godfrey: Father of New Zealand Choral Music Elizabeth Salmon Mākaro Press, $40.00, ISBN 9780994106582 On the book’s cover a young boy stands a little uncertainly before the camera. He’s wearing the Eton suit of a King’s College chorister, complete…
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Posted in Music, Non-fiction, Review

Salted history, Mary Roberts

A Boy of China: In Search of Mao’s Lost Son Richard Loseby HarperCollins, $37.00, ISBN 9781775540885 This is a book that seems at odds with itself. The title tells us that it is about the author’s search for “Mao’s lost…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Review

Behind bars, Roger Robinson

The Prison Diary of A C Barrington: Dissent and Conformity in Wartime New Zealand John Pratt (with an introduction by John Barrington) Otago University Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781927322314 When did you last think about being in prison? Not the theory…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, War

Olympian heights, John Horrocks

Striking Gold: New Zealand Hockey’s Remarkable Victory at the 1976 Olympics Suzanne McFadden Mary Egan Publishing, $40.00 ISBN 9780473343729 Striking Gold is the story of one of the great moments in New Zealand’s sporting history. The 1976 Olympics are remembered…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, Sport

The headlock of myth, Mark Reason

Seelenbinder: The Olympian Who Defied Hitler James McNeish Steele Roberts, $35.00, ISBN 9780947493011 “After a certain time a life exists not for what it is in reality, but for its mythological qualities”: in that one sentence, James McNeish defines his…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Mud, blood and misconception, Damien Fenton

First Day of the Somme: The Complete Account of Britain’s Worst-ever Military Disaster  Andrew Macdonald, HarperCollins, $40.00, ISBN 9781775540403 Experience of a Lifetime: People, Personalities and Leaders in the First World War  John Crawford, David Littlewood and James Watson (eds)…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, War

With the Second Division, Tony Simpson

A Bloody Road Home: World War Two and New Zealand’s Heroic Second Division Christopher Pugsley Penguin, $70.00 ISBN 9780143571896 It might seem strange that we have had to wait seven decades from the conclusion of WWII for a comprehensive history…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, War
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