Reviews

18 Jan 2022

Nothing to see by Pip Adam

The aftermath of abuse - of alcohol, from the hands of men. The aftermath lasts decades, lasts a lifetime, is slow, is boring. It changes lives, it changes life. It never ends, it colours everything - you must stay vigilant. It is the life of Greta, of Peggy, of Margaret … just some of the women. All who are living in the aftermath recognise one another; they all cope in different ways. They support each other, keep each other out of danger, tell each other they are lucky to still be fighting, help each other try to make sense of their lives.

11 Jan 2022

Bluffword by Patrick Evans

Bluffworld is a funny, horrifying, thought-provoking read, set in academia in an alternate Christchurch. If you have ever experienced the liberation of information-free decision-making, wait till you read about the helium float of meaning-free discourse! Thomas Flannery, our narrator, sits on the toilet writing his personal bildungsroman Bluffworld - although there’s not much personal development to report. We follow him through his career and along the way we learn the difference between bluffing, bullshit, and horseshit.

29 Dec 2021

Stronger by Poorna Bell

Challenging the stereotypes that women are meant to be weaker and less physically able than men, Poorna Bell started her journey to become a powerlifter at age 34 after struggling to lift a mattress following the loss of her husband.

17 Dec 2021

The Freedom of Birds by Stephanie Parkyn

Europe, the beginning of the 19th Century. Hopes of an enlightened age arising from the French Revolution have been dashed by The Terror. Napoleon has forced the French domination of most of continental Europe. The lands are far from settled – the citizens not agreeing that “the French had given them equality and freedom”. The unrest means Napoleon’s army is always on the hunt for more men and boys. Amidst this backdrop of colonial unrest, emerging nationalism, and bloody conflict, three young people are growing up, searching for who they are and to whom they belong.

14 Dec 2021

Railhead by Philip Reeve

Railhead is set in a futuristic world where sentient trains transport people through portals, allowing the entire galaxy to be open. A petty thief named Zen Starling sneaks on to the emperor’s personal train and steals a mysterious cube.

7 Dec 2021

Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin

It’s winter time in Sokcho, a quiet time which seems to slow down life itself.
The coastal town is known for its close proximity to one of Korea’s major national parks and its location between the North and South. This feeling of being caught in-between is shared by a young French Korean women who works as a receptionist in a tired guest house. She is never named and feels slightly displaced from the world as her days are spent working, visiting her mother, and observing the handful of people staying in the guesthouse.

3 Dec 2021

The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey

When a fisherman on a small Caribbean island falls in love with a woman who was cursed to become a mermaid centuries ago, a dark twist occurs when the mermaid is hooked on a line and dragged onto land, and it falls on the fisherman to rescue her.

25 Nov 2021

Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka

Kurangaituku graces us with the story of Hatupatu and the Bird-Woman from the female perspective. It tells of the coming into being, and fading from existence, of the universe, the natural world, and the individual. It asks why we learn about the death of Maui and not the violation of Hinenuitepō; why we are taught history from the male point of view. It demonstrates the power and destruction of language and shows how ‘love and creation’ are just ‘revenge and destruction’ seen from another perspective. It is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.