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Young, gifted, female and brown, Elizabeth Crayford

Fale Aitu|Spirit House
Tusiata Avia
Victoria University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781776560646

Tail of the Taniwha
Courtney Sina Meredith
Beatnik Publishing, $30.00,
ISBN 9780992264895

Lucky Punch
Simone Kaho
Anahera Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780473367510

Before Tusiata Avia’s Fale Aitu|Spirit House was published, she made a point of telling her mother what she’d written, to which her mother replied, “It all needs to come out.” Avia tells us this in an endnote, but it could stand as epigraph to all three books. Reading Avia’s work alongside Courtney Sina Meredith’s Tail of the Taniwha and Simone Kaho’s Lucky Punch is to be immersed, sometimes uncomfortably, in contemporary Pasifika culture from a female perspective. Each writer’s voice is distinctive, yet similar themes crop up again and again. Anyone who’s read Albert Wendt’s Leaves of the Banyan Tree, or Sia Figiel’s more recent Where We Once Belonged, both set in Samoa, will not be surprised by the level of violence in these new works. However, the “all” that Avia’s mother implies is alive and kicking in New Zealand in the 21st century.

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Feminist with a small f, Siobhan Harvey

Walking to Africa  Jessica Le Bas Auckland University Press, $24.99, ISBN 9781869404468 Bloodclot Tusiata Avia Victoria University Press, $25.00, ISBN 9780864735935 How to Live by the Sea Lynn Davidson Victoria University Press, $25.00, ISBN 9780864735997 The Mirror of Simple Annihilated

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Infinite last gasps in Niu Sila, Dougal McNeill

The Life and the Dark Richard Reeve Auckland University Press, $21.99, ISBN 1869403126 Wild Dogs Under My Skirt Tusiata Avia Victoria University Press, $24.95, ISBN 0864734743 Richard Reeve fits the definition: he is a man possessed of more than usual

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