Local Literature: New Books

We’re reading a lot of local fiction and non-fiction lately, because it’s so good! Stories from New Zealanders make us feel reminiscent and connected, as well as providing the satisfaction that comes from supporting local writers. Some of these voices are new, some of them have been around for a while but still have new perspectives to share.

This month, notable titles include the swirling poetry of Between You and these Bones; and The Braided River, an anthology of migrant essays compiled by Diane Comer, who draws on how essays continue to be an expression of oneself and migration in a shifting world. We finish off with a current Librarian’s Choice, All Who Live on Islands, which perhaps proves Comer’s hypothesis true.

The paper nautilus : a trilogy / Jackson, Michael
The Paper Nautilus is about loss – the forms it takes, how we go on living in the face of it, and the mysterious ways that new life and new beginnings are born of brokenness. The paper nautilus provides a vivid image of this interplay of death and rebirth since, for new life to begin, the angelically beautiful but fragile shell that sustained a former life must be shattered. This book crosses and blends genres most engagingly.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Haare Williams : words of a kaumātua / Williams, Haare
“A kaumātua – an elder of the Māori people – reflects in poetry and prose on his journey from te ao Maori on the East Coast to contemporary Auckland, New Zealand. And in his poetry and prose, in te reo Maori and English, Haare has a unique ability to capture both the wisdom of te ao Maori and the transformation of that world. This book, edited and introduced by acclaimed author Witi Ihimaera, brings together the poetry and prose of Haare Williams to produce a work that is a biography of the man and his times, a celebration of a kaumatua and an exemplar of his wisdom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The braided river : migration and the personal essay / Comer, Diane
“This book explores contemporary migration to New Zealand through an examination of 200 personal essays written by 37 migrants from 20 different countries, spanning all ages and life stages. Throughout, Diane Comer, both migrant and essayist herself, demonstrates the versatility of the personal essay as a means to analyze and understand migration, an issue with increasing relevance worldwide.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Black and the White / Cochrane, Geoff
“The Black and the White is a new work – witty, fearless, formidably concise – from one of the most distinctive voices in New Zealand Poetry.” (Source: Victoria University Press)

All the juicy pastures : Greville Texidor and New Zealand / Schwass, Margot
“Greville Texidor – one-time Bloomsbury insider, globetrotting chorus-line dancer, former heroin addict, anarchist militia-woman and recent inmate of Holloway Prison – became a writer only after arriving in New Zealand as a refugee in 1940. All the Juicy Pastures tells the story of Greville Texidor’s extraordinary life in full for the first time, and puts her small but essential body of work in vivid context. Illustrated with many never-before-seen photographs, it restores an essential New Zealand writer to new generations of readers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Between you and these bones / Soul, F. D.
“Acclaimed Instagram poet F.D. Soul (@featherdownsoul) debuts a new poetry collection, telling her own invigorating, unapologetic narrative of love, loss, and adversity. Soul’s words pulse, they are alive on the page, attesting to the significance of Between You and These Bones in the modern world. From celebrated New Zealand poetess F.D. Soul comes her highly anticipated second collection of poetry, prose, illustrations, and wisdom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All who live on islands / Lu, Rose
All Who Live on Islands introduces a bold new voice in New Zealand literature. In these intimate and entertaining essays, Rose Lu takes us through personal history to explore friendship, the weight of stories told and not told about diverse cultures, and the reverberations of our parents’ and grandparents’ choices. Frank and compassionate, Rose Lu’s stories illuminate the cultural and linguistic questions that migrants face, as well as what it is to be a young person living in 21st-century Aotearoa New Zealand.” (Adapteed from Catalogue)