Blog Archives

Bad luck, bad language, bad management, Bronwyn Dalley

Bligh: William Bligh in the South Seas Anne Salmond Viking, $65.00, ISBN 9780670075560   One of the prefaces in the late Greg Dening’s Mr Bligh’s Bad Language: Passion, Power and Theatre on the Bounty (1992) is written at the “bicentenary…
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Posted in Biography, History, Non-fiction, Review

Careful sympathy, Roger Robinson

Katherine Mansfield: The Story-teller Kathleen Jones Viking, $65.00, ISBN 9780670074358   Let’s hear Katherine Mansfield speak first: The cleanliness of Switzerland! Darling, it is frightening. The chastity of my lily-white bed! The waxy-fine floors! The huge bouquet of white lilac,…
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Posted in Biography, Literature, Non-fiction, Review

Innocence, disruption, death, Tom Brooking

Aphrodite’s Island: The European Discovery of Tahiti Anne Salmond Viking, $65.00, ISBN 9780670073962 The publication of a new book by Anne Salmond is always an occasion worth celebrating and savouring. Aphrodite’s Island, about the European discovery of, and encounter with,…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

Home and away, Nicholas Reid

Dead People’s Music Sarah Laing Vintage, $29.99, ISBN 9781869791087 Footnotes to Sex Mia Farlane Viking, $37.00, ISBN 9780670917938 Mother’s Day Laurence Fearnley Penguin, $28.00, ISBN 9780143011255 I am male, middle-aged, heterosexual and monogamous. The first two terms make me different…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Felling a forest giant, Janet Hunt

Kauri Keith Stewart Viking, $60.00, ISBN 9780670045525 Keith Stewart’s Kauri is the latest in a succession of publications about this iconic tree, following books by esteemed natural history writers A H Reed, J G Erne Adams, Gordon Ell and others…
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Posted in Natural History, Non-fiction, Review

Shooting the south, Stella Ramage

White Silence: Grahame Sydney’s Antarctica Grahame Sydney  Viking, $115.00, ISBN 9780670072538 How does the sustained gaze of the landscape painter, obsessively re-imagining the sun-scorched expanses of Central Otago in a million meticulous brushstrokes, adjust to the mechanical snap of a…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Photography, Review

No Hamlet, Barry Gustafson

My Life David Lange Viking, $49.95, ISBN 067004556X David Lange was no Will Shakespeare, and his memoir My Life is no Hamlet, Othello or Macbeth. Lange’s prose is distinguished by clever one-liners, not lengthy, self-revealing soliloquies. My Life does, however,…
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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Jib-booms and bobstays, Anne French

Southern Breeze: a history of yachting in New Zealand Harold Kidd, Robin Elliott, and David Pardon Viking, $74.95, ISBN 0 670 88650 5 Salt beneath the skin: Seafaring Kiwis tell their stories ed Tessa Duder HarperCollins, $29.95, ISBN 1 86950…
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Posted in Essays, Non-fiction, Review

“Better to tell it all”, Vincent O’Sullivan

Wrestling with the Angel: a life of Janet Frame  Michael King Viking, $49.95, ISBN 0 670 89371 4   Penguin Books knew they were onto what commerce knows as “a good thing” when they took on the publication they now…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Traversing cultural contrasts, David Grant

Winters of Revenge: The Bitter Rivalry Between the All Blacks and the Springboks Spiro Zavos Viking, $29.95, ISBN 0 670 87574 0 Lochore: An Authorised Biography As told to Alex Veysey, Gary Caffell, Ron Palenski Hodder Moa Beckett, HB$44.95, ISBN…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review, Sport
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