Blog Archives

Plucking a victim from the wreckage, Tony Collins

The Black Robin: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Bird David Butler and Don Merton, Oxford University Press, $49.95 The story of the black robin’s rescue from the brink of extinction has been told more than once in recent years by…
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Posted in Natural History, Non-fiction, Review

Minnie Mouse plays Anna Karenina, Iain Sharp

Staying Home and Being Rotten Shonagh Koea, Vintage, $19.95 Unlawful Entry Marilyn Duckworth, Vintage, $19.95 It’s always presumptuous to thrust two authors under a single umbrella. At least in the present instance one can point, by way of excuse, to…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

How misleading it all is, K R Howe

The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific Paul Theroux, Hamish Hamilton, $34.95 The barrage of criticism that greeted this book in New Zealand needs to be ignored. The exception taken to Paul Theroux’s acerbic comments about New Zealanders and…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Pacific, Review

The self-loathing of a Stead novel, Damien Wilkins

The End of the Century at the End of the World C K Stead, Harvill/ HarperCollins, $39.95 C K Stead has always suffered from a surfeit of lucidity. This may seem like a wrong-headed thing to say. Surely those values…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

True to principle, David Young

Peace People Elsie Locke, Hazard Press, $34.95 At the age of 80, Elsie Locke can look back on a life as a sometime communist (till 1956), environmentalist, peace campaigner, feminist and writer, and, contemplating a world so different from the…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology, War

Finding a solid footing here, Bernadette Hall

The Skinny Louie Book Fiona Farrell, Penguin, $24.95 Female morality is described by Marilyn French as being a web of relations, not a hierarchy of rules. It takes its strength from recognising connections and taking responsibility for them. It is…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Yes, but who let it become so? Colin James

New Zealand’s Constitution in Crisis: Reforming Our Political System Geoffrey Palmer, John McIndoe, $34.95 Electoral Behaviour In New Zealand Martin Holland (ed), Oxford University Press, $29.95 New Zealand Politics in Perspective (3rd Edition) Hyam Gold (ed), Longman Paul, $49.95 Sir…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Jane Austen’s unlikely sister, Elizabeth Caffin

Cousins Patricia Grace, Penguin, $24.95 We now have the good fortune in New Zealand that a number of fiction writers can be relied on to produce a good book time after time – Jane Frame, Owen Marshall, Maurice Gee, and…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Pragmatists with principles, Shelagh Duckham Cox

Undeveloping Nation: New Zealand’s Twenty Year Fall Towards the Third World David McLoughlin, Penguin, $24.95 The Decent Society: Essays In Response to National’s Economic and Social Policies Jonathan Boston and Paul Dalziel (eds) Oxford University Press, $29.95 Controlling Interests: Business,…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review, Sociology

Be a festival, Keri Hulme

The Shark that Ate the Sun (Ko a Mago ne Kal a fa) John Puhiatau Pule, Penguin Books, $24.95 Can you adequately review a 294-page book – which is rich, allusive, poetic, partly epistolary, partly story‑chants from last century, partly…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review
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