Recent New Zealand Fiction

This month’s selection ranges from historical fiction, to science fiction and speculative fiction; from Te Rauparaha to post-apocalyptic futures and strange creatures loose in Miramar.

Syndetics book coverWulf / Hamish Clayton.
Early nineteenth-century New Zealand, the great chief Te Rauparaha has conquered tiny Kapiti Island, from where Ngati Toa launches brutal attacks on its southern enemies. Off the coast of Kapiti, English trader John Stewart seeks to trade with Te Rauparaha, setting off a train of events that changes the course of New Zealand history. Narrated by two English sailors on board Stewart’s ship, these events are eerily resonant of a more distant memory, stretching back into mythology, of the charismatic leader Wulf and an ancient lament. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverUnnatural selection : a novel / Philip Eastwood.
Loki Blake has never seen the sun, the sky or the stars. No one has. For centuries they’ve been hidden by an oily blanket of cloud the never breaks or disperses. This is the city of Luxor. Long ago when oceans flooded and fossil fuels ran out Luxor rose out of the chaos, becoming the most powerful city in the world, thanks to its industries, fuelled by the fat of animals. As the fumes from burning tallow spread outward, so did Luxor’ s influence. Now Loki’s going to a place beyond the tallow clouds, to a faraway colony of Trasmundo to search for strange and mythical animals, trying to save them from extinction before the clouds of Luxor’s industries spread further. But someone wants Loki to fail and they’re prepared to kill. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverA foreign country : New Zealand speculative fiction / edited by Anna Caro and Juliet Buchanan.
Strange creatures are loose in Miramar, desperate survivors cling to the remains of a submerged country, humanity’s descendants seek to regain what they’ve lost, and the residents of Gisborne reluctantly serve alien masters. The visions of New Zealand, and beyond, painted in this collection of short stories are both instantly recognisable and nothing like the place we know. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverFrom under the over coat / Sue Orr.
This collection of vivid, accessible, contemporary stories can be read purely for the immense pleasure they offer. However, the stories can also be read for the way they explore elements from earlier works: from Maori myth and fairy tale to masterpieces by writers such as Katherine Mansfield, James Joyce and Anton Chekov. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverDolci di love / Sarah-Kate Lynch.
The Tuscan town of Montevedova is famous for its rolling green hills, long lazy lunches and delectable cantucci biscuits. It even has its own patron saint. But Manhattan workaholic Lily Turner is not interested in any of that. She’s only there to find her cheating husband.  What Lily doesn’t know, however, is that beneath the cobbled lanes of this charming hilltop village, an underground network of ancient widows is working tirelessly on finding her a happy ending, whether she wants it or not. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverFosterling / Emma Neale.
A young man is found unconscious in a remote forest. He is over seven-feet tall, his skin covered in thick hair, which reminds onlookers of an animal’s pelt. When has wakes in a city hospital, he is eerily uncommunicative. Speculation begins. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverHokitika town / Charlotte Randall.
Hokitika, 1865, at the height of the Gold Rush. In a town with a hundred pubs, young Halfie, aka Harvey, Thumbsucker, Bedwetter, Cocoa and Pipsqueak, gets by as best he can. Most of the time he hangs around the Bathsheba pub, washing dishes, running errands and making the odd coin. When you’re a coin boy you see a lot of life and from low down. But how much do you really understand. What’s going on in young Halfie’s world? (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverBound / Vanda Symon.
A brutal home invasion shocks the nation. A man is murdered, his wife bound, gagged and left to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard scatches the surface, the victim, a successful business, is not all he seems to be. And when the evidence points to two of Dunedin’s most hated criminals, the case seems cut and dried, until the body count starts to rise. (Book cover)

Being Daisy / Kate Spencer.
Being Daisy is an emotionally charged slice of life for an irrepressible young woman who roller coasters her way through ten years of married life with humour and optimism. Her journey typified that of many 60’s brides who sought more than just a husband as they embarked on married life in the middle of free love and the background drone of The Rolling Stones. (Book cover)

The flax trader : a historical novel / Brad Bradley. A historical novel based on the adventurous life og Jon W. Harris, earliest settler of Poverty Bay.
Going to sea at an early age, he works as a convict overseer in NSW where he encounters the infamous Rev. Samuel Marsden and suffers his first tragedy. Later trading around the coast of New Zealand, he marries high-born Tukura. The clash of Harris’s rationality with religious and superstitious beliefs in Maroi and European society leads to dire consequences, as his world is turned upside down by the deaths and betrayal of the women he loves, and finally the Hauhau and Te Kooti rebellion. (Book cover)