Reviews

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.

24 Nov 2021

Still Life by Sarah Winman

Ulysses, a young Cockney soldier and amateur mapmaker, Evelyn a British art historian (and spy?) meet on a road in Tuscany, and spend the night in the cellar of a bombed out building with the British Army as they prepare to march on Florence. Also in that cellar is a piece of priceless art and as Evelyn tells Ulysses why art is worth saving, she changes the course of his young life.

16 Nov 2021

She's a Killer by Kirsten McDougall

Our protagonist is a woman in her late thirties, whose name we know only from the sleeve notes - Alice. We learn through the novel that Alice has had a not-too-unusual upbringing, that she is a very bad judge of situations, and that as a child she had an invisible friend called Simp – the kind of friend who advises eating all the chocolates, or burning down the house. Simp has returned - Alice’s boyfriend has left her, her best friend Amy is starting to drift away, and Alice is facing the question that we all face: “Yes, it was a mountain of shit and it was avalanching down on our heads. But what was I to do about it?”

4 Nov 2021

Loop Tracks by Sue Orr

Charlie Lowry was fifteen-years-old in the late seventies - full of dreams and fantasies, and concerns about her peeling toenail varnish. She wanted boys to notice her, and they sometimes did, but for her fascination with words – she was always one for the funny pun – they didn’t see her potential for glamorous romance. One night at a party, a boy did notice her - and she thought she had achieved her dream. But instead, she found herself in a situation that could only be resolved by a quick trip to Sydney, or by her ‘going up North for a while’.

2 Nov 2021

Widowland by CJ Carey

London, 1953. The city is abuzz with the coming coronation of King Edward VIII and Queen Wallis with dignitaries including the Leader and the Protector arriving from all over the world. It's a new day for the beleaguered nation and a new day for the Grand Alliance.

29 Oct 2021

Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness by Kristen Radtke

Kristen Radtke’s Seek You is an exploration of loneliness, past and present – a topic made more prevalent in our current circumstances as we both feel isolated from the people who matter to us, those abroad for instance, and have a heightened awareness of the other people occupying the space around us.

27 Oct 2021

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

Lighthouses and those who keep have something of a cult following. Maybe its the isolation, the beguiling nature of the sea or the rugged men of the light, but the stories are always captivating, and The Lamplighters makes a mysterious and sinister addition.