The New Zealand writers featuring this month in our ‘Other Genre’ category reflect a wide range of theme. From historical to contemporary national issues, romance to time travel, all open some new and thought provoking views on our society. Highly recommended is the new novel from Linda Olsson, titled The Blackbird sings at Dusk.
Whispers of the past / by Owen Clough.
“Sam is employed by the Department of Conservation (DoC). His two mates are helping out. Their task is to clear out as many feral pigs as they can in the Tongariro National Park. There are three major volcanoes within this park, so the culling of the pigs has to be done with great care as there are an abundant amount of thermal and mud pools. The three friends draw even closer as they get caught up in a weather pattern with a difference. Mist, sulphur and rain envelop them and propel them back to the start of the New Zealand Wars of 1863, three modern blokes, with all the paraphernalia of the 21st century, running around in the past, confused, lost, and trying to stay out of harm’s way, once they realize where they are. Will they get home? Will they change history?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Sicilian papa / Ronald C. Fama.
“This is an epic tale set within the context of Victorian England and an Italy under King Ferdinand II, this novel is full of historical detail and characters. While following the adventures of our hero, Vincenzo, as he takes to a life at sea and eventually emigrates from London to New Zealand, it becomes clear that he will never be able to escape his Sicilian roots and the inevitability of vendetta.” (Adapted from Book cover)
Condemn not my children : the consequences of pious evil / Kasey Coory.
“When a deviant priest violates a nun, she is sworn to silence by the church in order to avoid a scandal and then married off to the priest’s older brother, with unforeseen consequences. Abandoned by those in whom she has placed her trust, a desperate mother suffers a mental breakdown and is deprived of her children. Near the end of the nineteenth century, two families immigrate to New Zealand, sparking a story that will follow both from that time through the middle of the twentieth century. As an unholy liaison interweaves the two groups, the emotional tapestry is unraveled and rewoven by women of the following generations, each with her own story of heartbreak and courage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Losing & winning / Thomas W. Devine.
“Will New Zealand teacher, Ryan Gibson, get to claim his Lotto win? Or will Kristen Piper, his girlfriend, collect the prize for herself as a way out of the double-life she’s been living for five years? With the best of intentions, Ryan follows her across the globe, and eventually to the island of Sicily, cradle of Mediterranean culture. But someone else is also out to find her, and they will stop at nothing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Close to you / Kara Isaac.
“A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together and falling in love, on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The blackbird sings at dusk / Linda Olsson.
“One winter evening, Elias, a young artist, watches a woman move into his apartment building. After closing her door, however, she is not seen again. A misdirected letter finally gives Elias the opportunity to make contact. But inside her dark apartment, Elisabeth refuses to respond to his knock. Her only company is the Woman in Green, an unbidden vision from her childhood dreams. Elias, meanwhile, is not to be deterred and draws his friend Otto, an elderly widower, into his attempts to entice Elisabeth into the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The wrong sister / Kris Pearson.
“Fiona Delaporte has an impossible assignment, to care for her newly widowed brother-in-law and his tiny daughter. (The newly widowed tall, dark and delicious brother-in-law she’s secretly wanted for five long, frustrating years.) Christian Hartley would rather spend time with anyone except the tempting woman who reminds him so much of his cherished wife. But she has six weeks leave from her cruise-liner job on the other side of the world, and seems determined to do her family duty. How can craving the wrong sister feel so right?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Something else / David Parkyn.
“In a city threatened by drought, in a country wracked by unusual weather patterns, in an empty building about to be demolished, a fugitive from art contemplates a blank canvas, a jar of old brushes and a fresh page in his journal. As he surveys the grounds on which he’s lived and worked ‘a mutinous crew’ conspires to take him on a voyage of salvage and recovery, into inner city Auckland of the ‘sixties to revisit the deaths in which he believes his early obsession is implicated. A voyage to illuminate a looming personal and global disaster, to navigate the boundaries of art and politics, obsession and friendship and the shifting shores of modern art movements.” (Adapted from Book cover)
Dolly Doll : love in the backblocks / Leo Schulz.
“Dolly is 15 and about to flower, when she runs off on a joyride with her boyfriend. They have a car, liquor, weed, cash and a gun. But their dash for glory is short-lived. They are quickly caught between the police and the Mongrel Mob. Tangled up in a deceptive world of sex, drugs and violence, will Dolly fall for the strangely gentle charms of a leader of the Mongrel Mob?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The last time we spoke / Fiona Sussman.
“One mild summer evening in rural New Zealand the lives of Carla Reid, a middle-aged farmer’s wife, and Ben Toroa, an illiterate teen, brutally collide. Neither will be the same again, their futures forever linked. In the bleak aftermath of this home invasion, this novel traces both Carla and Ben’s journey as they each try to make sense of their new reality. Carla’s long road from rage and resentment interleaves with Ben’s time in prison as he hardens into manhood. Set again these parallel stories is also the voice of a Maori ancestor who looks down from Beyond, transporting the story to a wider historical stage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)