New Zealand Fiction is featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category. This selection highlights the skill and diversity of New Zealand writers. A wide range themes and genres are included, from debut novels to historical, romantic suspense to science fiction, alternative histories to short stories.
Fool’s gold / Zana Bell.
“It’s 1866 and the gold rush is on. Left to fend for herself in the wilds of New Zealand’s west coast, Lady Guinevere Stanhope is determined to do whatever it takes to rescue her ancestral home and restore her father’s good name. Forced out of his native Ireland, Quinn O’Donnell dreams of striking gold. His fiercely held prejudices make him loath to help any English person, let alone a lady as haughty and obstinate as Guinevere. But when a flash flood hits, Quinn is compelled to rescue her, and their paths become entwined in this uncharted new world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The shark party / Janet Colson.
“For Carla, February means the pressure of another birthday party for Nathan and his wealthy New York art world friends. She buys him a book about Kurt Schwitters, an artist he is thinking of collecting, but a chance encounter with a man in the bookstore changes everything. Patrick, an environmental filmmaker, challenges her relationship and her artistic ambition. In the wake of their fierce attraction, the unscrupulous world that has seduced Carla begins to unravel and the harder she tries to break free the tighter Nathan’s grip becomes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Paris inheritance / Merryn Corcoran.
“Sixteen year old Mary Hampton is tall, stunningly beautiful but damaged. Born and raised on an isolated farm in rural New Zealand, she is forced to harbour a horrific secret. Mary runs away from home. Armed only with determination and the contents of a letter, she travels to France to search for her Parisian birth father. She begins working as a seamstress in the humble back streets of Paris, where her design skills are quickly recognized. Stunningly, beautiful Mary soon makes new friendships and her fashion career is distracted when she is offered a position as a dancer at the glamorous Moulin Rouge. Her journey to success is hampered by betrayal, jealousy and sabotage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Public sex in Paekakariki : a magical realism tale / Sandi Hall.
“When nurse Margaret Spindle discovers a lovely but travel-worn pregnant stranger asleep in St Peter’s, one with no handbag or luggage except a bulging black rubbish bag, she turns for help to her closest friends, life partners Fay Dalgety and Ruth Bone. On the same day, Fay meets another stranger in Paekakariki. This is designer-chic Freddie Tasco, as out of place in the village as a boot in an aquarium. Fay thinks Freddie is just passing through but Freddie has much sexier plans.” (Adapted from Book cover)
New Hokkaido / James McNaughton.
“It is 1987, forty-five years after Japan conquered New Zealand, and the brutal shackles of the occupation have loosened a little: English can be spoken by natives in the home, and twenty-year-old Business English teacher Chris Ipswitch has a job at the Wellington Language Academy. But even Chris and his famous older brother, the Night Train, a retired Pan-Asian sumo champion, cannot stay out of the conflict between the Imperial Japanese Army and the Free New Zealand movement. When Chris takes it upon himself to investigate a terrible crime, he is drawn into the heart of the struggle for freedom, guided along the way by the mysterious Hitomi Kurosawa and the ghost of Kiwi rock ‘n’ roll legend and martyr Johnny Lennon.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Blood and koka kola : short stories / Chistodoulos E. G. Moisa.
“The 24 short stories in this collection of short stories by poet and artist, Christodoulos Moisa, is everything such a book should be. They make compelling reading and the subject matter ranges from macabre to historical, from the mythical to the quirky, some enigmatic, others rich with humour and irony; all written with perfect pitch.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Jovian legacy / Lilla Nicholas-Holt.
“Jovian, a planet deep within the universe with an Earth-like atmosphere, is a world of genetically enhanced specimens. Lives are longer, knowledge is advanced, and everything is tuned for a greater sensory experience. Thirty-five light years away on Earth, Jack is a young man who has lived an ordinary New Zealand way of life, surfing the Internet on his computer and spending time with his new girlfriend, Megan. Suddenly Jack finds himself drawn into a world of virtual reality, interplanetary travel and Jovian scientists who express great interest in him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The chimes / Anna Smaill.
“The Chimes is set in a reimagined London, in a world where people cannot form new memories, and the written word has been forbidden and destroyed. In the absence of both memory and writing is music. In a world where the past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is blasphemy, all appears lost. But Simon Wythern, a young man who arrives in London seeking the truth about what really happened to his parents, discovers he has a gift that could change all of this forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Some here among us / Peter Walker.
“It is 1967, and as America’s allies hesitate over whether to send more troops to Vietnam and students take to the streets of Wellington, New Zealand, to protest the war. Among them are Race, Candy, Chadwick and FitzGerald and their elusive, electrifying friend Morgan Tawhai. They are young and hopeful and the world is all before them. Forty years later, in Washington DC, Race’s son Toby is navigating his own path across a landscape still trembling with the reverberations of 9/11. Race and his companions move through the first decade of the new millennium, their friendships tested and pulled apart and reconfigured anew, they come to discover that Morgan who will forever remain the twenty-year-old they once knew, is both the mystery and the touchstone of their lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)