New Fiction from Aotearoa New Zealand

This Mortal Boy book cover

New to the world, or new to Wellington City Libraries, these titles from local authors showcase a range of talents, beginning with Fiona Kidman’s new book about the ‘jukebox killer’ in Auckland in 1955. These tales explore New Zealand influences through eras and locations influencing lives we can recognise and feel kinship with.

This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders?” (Catalogue)

The new animals / Adam, Pip
“Carla, Sharon and Duey have worked in fashion for longer than they care to remember, for them, there’s nothing new under the sun. They’re Generation X: tired, cynical and sick of being used. Tommy, Cal and Kurt are Millenials, they’ve come from nowhere, but with their monied families behind them they’re ready to remake fashion. They represent the new sincere, the anti-irony. Both generations are searching for a way out, an alternative to their messed-up reality. Pip Adam’s new novel walks the streets of Auckland city now, examining the fashion scene, intergenerational tension and modern life with an unflinching eye.” (Catalogue)

Death actually : Death. Love. And in between. / Fenwicke, Rosy
“Maggie never wanted to go into the family business, but when her parents die suddenly and her husband has abandoned her and their two children, what choice does she have? So she becomes a funeral director.” (Catalogue)
Set in Queenstown this book encompasses family trials and trivialities with good humour and great characters.

The new ships / Duignan, Kate
“Peter Collie is adrift in the wake of his wife’s death. His attempts to understand the turn his life has taken lead him back to the past, to dismaying events on an Amsterdam houseboat in the seventies, returning to New Zealand and meeting Moira, an amateur painter who carried secrets of her own, and to a trip to Europe years later with his family. An unexpected revelation forces Peter to navigate anew his roles as a husband, father and son. Set in Wellington after the fall of the Twin Towers, and traversing London, Europe and the Indian subcontinent, The New Ships is a mesmerising book of blood-ties that stretch across borders. A novel of acute moral choices, it is a rich and compelling meditation on what it means to act, or to fail to act.” (Catalogue)

Designer days : a story set in Thorndon, Wellington, 2009 / Mercer, R. D.
“‘Down into the dark cave’ Laura says to her baby, pushing the buggy into the underpass. Cave paintings? Yes, indeed, but among them some writing she does not expect to find. Laura and Eddie both resist being constrained by the timetables of office or school. They want the freedom to design their own days. Laura, an IT specialist, craves domesticity. Eddie resents being moved to High School in Wellington. Laura’s husband, Matt, begins to behave curiously.” (Catalogue)

The man who writes the dreams / Barrett, Pera
“A story about following dreams. People have stopped turning their dreams into done-things. Luckily for us, the man who writes the dreams is here to make things right.” (Catalogue)

Equinoctial gales : a story set in Wellington, 1939 / Mercer, R. D.
“There were those who liked to refer to the shopping area of Kelburn as ‘the village’. It gave it status. Did they have in mind some impossible idyll of an English village of established families, in which people knew their place and weather was predictable? The reality of Kelburn in 1930s New Zealand could not have been more different.  A chance event, a “sudden death”, connects the characters in one way or another… But no-one living in Wellington can ignore the weather. They are all affected by its fickleness, its days of violence and its days of blessed calm.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Alternative medicine / Solomon, Laura
“The stories in Alternative Medicine can be broadly defined as black comedy with a twist of surrealism… In ‘The Killing Jar’ a boy’s spider spies on his adulterous father and reports back to its owner. In ‘The New Heart’ a man experiences somebody else’s memories after receiving a heart transplant. The story ‘Mandy’ features a strangely obsessed protagonist. Everyday sadness at a refugee going blind is sketched out in ‘Blindness’. Childhood relationships are depicted in the short story ‘Pets’ and in ‘Piano Lessons/War Stories’ the narrator reflects upon her grandfather’s time fighting in World War 2.  The stories show human life in various forms and endeavours.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Hilary and David / Solomon, Laura
“In Hilary and David, David, a lonely elderly struggling novelist, contacts Hilary, with whom he has a friend in common, via Facebook, and an unlikely friendship develops via a series of messages. The two begin to share details of their past and current lives. Hilary is a solo mother with two children. One of the children has Down’s Syndrome and the other has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Both are struggling… Through a series of messages, Hilary and David share their thoughts on life, the universe, men, women and everything else in between and provide companionship and advice for one another.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Catch up on the latest fiction from New Zealand writers

New Zealand writers are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ selection of new material. There are several historical novels that bring into focus New Zealand’s political, cultural and social development over the last century. As well as a fabulous new Ngaio Marsh murder mystery completed by award winning author Stella Duffy and a new work from award-winning author Charlotte Grimshaw called Mazarine.

Syndetics book coverMoney in the morgue / Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy.
“Roderick Alleyn is back in this unique crime novel begun by Ngaio Marsh during the Second World War and now completed by Stella Duffy. It’s business as usual for Mr Glossop as he does his regular round delivering wages to government buildings scattered across New Zealand’s lonely Canterbury plains. But when his car breaks down he is stranded for the night at the isolated Mount Seager Hospital, with the telephone lines down, a storm on its way and the nearby river about to burst its banks. Trapped with him at Mount Seager are a group of quarantined soldiers with a serious case of cabin fever, three young employees embroiled in a tense love triangle, a dying elderly man, an elusive patient whose origins remain a mystery … and a potential killer. When the payroll disappears from a locked safe and the hospital’s death toll starts to rise faster than normal, can the appearance of an English detective working in counterespionage be just a lucky coincidence – or is something more sinister afoot?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSix murders? : the strange case of the Welly alley strangler / by Robert Philip Bolton.
“When Faith and her husband accidentally get involved in the weird life of Ponytail O’Gorman – a beguiling old fraudster – they have no idea how much he will disrupt their peaceful life in suburban Kilbirnie. But he convinces them to help him in his strange quest to find both his friend from prison, Simple Simon, and his own missing cell phone which is being sought by a bunch of desperate crooks as well as by the head of Wellington CIB. Determined to help the strangely charming little con-man – and so discover the truth about the notorious Welly Alley Strangler – they get carried along to a secretive location in beautiful Martinborough. In the process Faith confronts a collection of odd characters, who unknown to her were part of her husband’s life as a prison guard.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A thin slice of heaven / Paul Wah.
“A historical novel recounting the adventures of the author’s great-grandfather, Ng Leung Kee, who migrated to New Zealand in 1880 and set up a successful Chinese merchant business in Wellington. Ng Leung Kee returned to Tiansum, China in 1922, to take his grandson Leslie to receive a Chinese education. They faced significant challenges, including the kidnapping of Leslie by bandits, during a period of tumultuous political, economic and social conditions in China.”
(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMazarine / Charlotte Grimshaw.
“From award-winning author Charlotte Grimshaw, this is a beautifully evocative, sensual portrayal of a woman’s search for freedom and love. When her daughter vanishes during a heatwave in Europe, writer Frances Sinclair embarks on a hunt that takes her across continents and into her own past. What clues can Frances find in her own history, and who is the mysterious Mazarine? Following the narrative thread left by her daughter, she travels through cities touched by terrorism and surveillance, where the concept of relatedness is subtly changed, and a startling new fiction seems to be constructing itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe man who would not see / Rajorshi Chakraborti.
“When family suddenly becomes your greatest challenge, mystery, rediscovery . As children in Calcutta, Ashim and Abhay made a small mistake that split their family forever. Thirty years later, Ashim has re-entered his brother’s life, with blame and retribution on his mind. It seems nothing short of smashing Abhay’s happy home will make good the damage from the past. At least, this is what Abhay and his wife Lena are certain is happening. A brother has travelled all the way from small-town India to New Zealand bearing ancient – and false – grudges, and with the implacable objective of blowing up every part of his younger brother’s life. Reconciliation was just a Trojan horse. But is Ashim really the villain he appears to be, or is there a method to his havoc?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Crystal ReignCrystal reign / Kelly Lyndon.
“Former Navy Lieutenant Commander and MMA instructor David Johnson has it all: an amazing wife, three beautiful kids and a great job. He’s the man who can handle anything, and anyone – until his wife Chrissie is introduced to methamphetamine at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party. Slowly but surely, everything David has worked for and believed in is dramatically eroded as Chrissie’s addiction takes hold. Then Chrissie disappears without a trace. In his effort to find her, David gets drawn into the dark world of meth. As the months pass, he becomes more and more afraid that she has been killed, and that the police will suspect him for her murder. The story of one man’s fight to save his family from the drug that is engulfing and destroying New Zealand society.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Eye of the SongbirdEye of the songbird / Michael Munro.
“What happens when a New Zealand team of scientists find one of the world¿s largest flawless diamonds on the last piece of sovereign-less land Antarctica. She ¿s the target, Songbird, the woman he’s been told to bring down and here she is swinging helpless in a crevasse in Antarctica. What should Kirk Barnby, New Zealand secret service agent, do? Cut the rope? In this taut and exciting clash between environmental activism and nation-state determination, which ranges from Antarctica, Hong Kong, London, Istanbul and Wellington, two very determined people have to make a choice – political or personal?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA tale of love / Linda Lê ; translated from the French by Sian Robyns.
“Ylane and Ivan meet for the first time in the library of a psychiatric hospital, falling instantly and deeply in love. In the shelter of the clinic they find happiness, but release into the outside world is frightening and love becomes a struggle as reality intrudes. And yet this reality strangely has more in common with a fairy tale with its monsters and lost children and one true love. And like a fairy tale, there is always the sense of the narrator watching and writing it all down. This is a novel as much about the power of reading and writing to transform as it is about the transformation of love. Both give the young lovers the opportunity to recover and recreate themselves, but Ylane and Ivan discover that just as there are always two sides to a page, so there is no single answer to the questions that besiege them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBoundary / by Paul W. Feenstra.
“July 1839, without the knowledge of the English Government, the ship Tory, stealthily departed Plymouth, determined to reach New Zealand with the utmost speed. The objective, to purchase millions of acres of lands at the lowest possible price and then build the perfect society. The New Zealand Company called the first settlement Britannia, a civilization without the shortcomings and failings of a troubled English culture. On board the Tory, a young Scottish couple indentured to the New Zealand Company are excited at the prospect of beginning a new life, Britannia is the Utopia they’ve been promised. This is the story of adversity, the struggle to survive in the hardships of a new colony, and their fight to preserve morality and integrity in the face of greed, deception and injustice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTe korero ahi kā : To speak of the home fires burning / edited by Grace Bridges, Lee Murray, Aaron Compton.
“Here, between the realms of the Sky Father and Earth Mother, hellhounds race, ghosts drift aimless, and the taniwha stalks. Home fires drive them back, at the same time sparking stories and poems that traverse seconds, eons, and parsecs. Tales of gatekeepers, cloak wearers, and secret keepers. Of pigs with AK-47s or ruby-hued eyes, of love-struck moa, and unruly reflections. Stark truths, and beautiful possibilities…Te Korero Ahi Ka, a term which means to speak of the home fires burning, is an anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, showcasing work from both established and emerging members of the SpecFicNZ organisation of writers, poets, artists, and creatives. It is a statement about how New Zealand creators of speculative fiction and art shine their light on our literary landscape.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New books in the library’s NZ collection

How We Met

Come for the quiet reading spaces on the second floor at Central Library and find something interesting amongst these selected new books of the New Zealand collection. This month you can find studies of love and loss, study our kiwi language and our literature, find out how a graffiti project became a monument and find new insights into Pacifica history from Cook to the dawn raids.

Syndetics book coverHow we met : the ways great love begins… / Michèle A’Court.
How We Met is based on a collection of ‘How We Met’ stories – those lovely stories couples love to tell (and we all love to hear) about how they got together – The author’s theory: that these stories of how couples meet – the romantic, absurd, serendipitous, convoluted, scandalous, breath-taking moments of connection – help to weave their lives together. Partly as ‘proof’ that they were meant to begin this couple-journey, and also because in each retelling they go back to those first falling-in-love feelings and rekindle the passion. Michele then tests her theory out on a neuroscientist and a psychologist, and by the end of the book has some useful things to say not only about how great love starts, but how it stays great.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSorrows of a century : interpreting suicide in New Zealand, 1900-2000 / John C. Weaver.
“Focusing on New Zealand because it has the most comprehensive and accessible coroners’ records, Weaver analyzes a staggering amount of information to determine the social and cultural factors that contribute to suicide rates. He examines the country’s investigations into sudden deaths, places them within the context of major events and societal changes, and turns to witnesses’ statements, suicide notes, and medical records to remark on prevention strategies.” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverKiwi speak / Justin Brown.
“Do you speak Nu Zild? In Kiwi Speak, bestselling author Justin Brown eavesdrops at the dinner table, the school yard, the farm and the sports club to bring us an entertaining dictionary of phrases and expressions – the often hilarious, sometimes baffling New Zealandisms we use in everyday life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPoetry and Exile : Letters from New Zealand 1938-1948
“German-Jewish poet Karl Wolfskehl spent the last years of his life, from 1938 to 1948, in Auckland, New Zealand, on the globe’s last island reef, as a refugee from Nazi Germany. The conditions of his life forced him to consider the very nature of human existence, and his letters from New Zealand amount to an intellectual autobiography. During his Auckland years Wolfskehl got to know the formative generation of New Zealand writers:Frank Sargeson, R. A. K. Mason, A. R. D. Fairburn (who dedicated his Poems 1929-1941 to Wolfskehl),Denis Glover and the acolytes of the Caxton Press and, to a lesser degree, Allen Curnow.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Bulford Kiwi : the kiwi we left behind / Colleen Brown.
“Little known story from after WW1, when NZ troops waited months in Sling Camp in southern England after the war ended to get a ship home. Rioting in the camp led to plans to keep troops busy by cutting a giant Kiwi into the chalk hill behind the camp. The Bulford Kiwi has become a monument built by soldiers, not governments, for themselves and their mates. In 2017 the Bulford Kiwi was made a protected heritage site by UK government.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDiscoveries : the voyages of Captain Cook / Nicholas Thomas.
“Cook’s great voyages marked the end of an era in world history. As he sailed into Hawaii in January 1778 he made contact with the last of the human civilizations to grow up independently of the rest of the world. But equally for the Polynesians and Melanesians of the Pacific, Cook’s arrival in their midst merely marked a further (if disastrous) twist in diverse histories already many centuries old. In this immensely enjoyable and absorbing book Cook’s journeys are reimagined, attempting to leave behind (or master) our later preoccupations to let us see what Cook and his associates experienced and what the societies he encountered experienced.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDawn Raids
“Tension is rising in 1970s New Zealand. Muldoon’s government is cracking down on illegal immigration and the notorious dawn raids are ripping Pasifika families from their beds. At the eye of this political storm, everyday New Zealanders like Sione struggle to keep their families united. Fuarosa, the family’s resident overstayer, fights against the chaos to keep hold of her freedom, and Sione’s sister Teresa might be getting in too deep with black rights activists. First staged in 1997, Dawn Raids is just as confronting and relevant now as it has ever been. Oscar Kightley pulls no punches and brings the play to life with his trademark hilarity and wit.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeek and destroy : the history of 3 Squadron RNZAF / Paul Harrison.
“In 2015 No.3 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force celebrated 50 years of continuous helicopter operations since it reformed in August 1965. Seek and Destroy is the official history of the machines and personnel that make up the colourful and wide-ranging operations of this unique squadron, which was first formed in 1930 and whose aircraft and personnel have seen service all around the world from the UK to Asia, the Pacific and the Antarctic. This illustrated hardback brings together anecdotal stories of the operations and exercises conducted during the past 50 years, including numerous civil defence and peacekeeping activities.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Zealand Wars / Philippa Werry.
“The story of the 19th century New Zealand Wars, a part of New Zealand’s history that many people wish they knew more about. The book describes how the wars came about, where and when they were fought, who was involved, and how they affected women and children. It explains the emergence of Kīngitanga or Māori King movement, the land confiscations and the story of Parihaka. The story is told in an accessible way full of fascinating detail, eye-witness accounts, illustrations and little known facts, with lists of websites, resources and books for those who want to discover more.” (Publisher description)

Syndetics book coverTowards democratic renewal : ideas for constitutional change in New Zealand / Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler, with assistance from Scarlet Roberts.
“In 2016, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler proposed and published a written, codified constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand. Since then the authors have travelled the country, discussing with the public the nature of New Zealand’s identity and where the country is headed. This clear, revised constitution defines and entrenches government accountability and transparency, protects the rights of our peoples and tangata whenua, and offers transformative steps to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of Aotearoa New Zealand.” (Publisher information)

Ka nui te ranea o ngā pukapuka hou. An abundance of new books.

Being Together in Place

Ngā mihi o te ngahuru. We have an abundant and varied collection of new books for you in this whakairinga rangitaki (blog post) and there is something for everyone – from social comment to health, from poetry to history. Highlights include Urban Māori: The Second Great Migration which is a timely exploration of the twentieth century Māori migration from rural communities to cities and its impact on Māori identity, and The Moon on my Tongue a wonderful anthology of Māori poetry in English.

Syndetics book coverPou o ue / Cyrus Gregory Tauahika Hingston.
Pou o Ue is the companion book to Cyrus Hingston’s earlier Pou o Whakaue: Marae of Whakaue.  This new volume “…is a history of six marae of Rotorua: the tupuna, the whenua, the whare, the hau kainga, and their memories of the marae, the relationships to the tupuna Uenukukopako (Ue) and Te Arawa whanui.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUrban Māori : the second great migration / Bradford Haami for Te Whānau o Waipareira.
“The post-1945 migration to the cities by Māori transformed Aotearoa New Zealand forever. Exploring what being Māori means today, author Bradford Haami looks back to the experience of the first migrants, and traces the development of an urban Maori identity over the interceding years. Photos and personal korero intersperse a very readable text.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe moon on my tongue : an anthology of Māori poetry in English / edited by Reina Whaitiri, Robert Sullivan and Ben Styles.
“From both revered, established writers and exciting contemporary poets, the work in this anthology offers a broad picture of Māori poetry written in English. There are laments for koro (elders), hopes for mokopuna (grandchildren); celebrations of the land and anger at its abuse; retellings of myth and reclamations of history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTātai whetū : seven Māori women poets in translation / edited by Maraea Rakuraku and Vana Manasiadis.This is the fourth volume in the Seraph Press Translation Series and is a beautiful little book that celebrates Māori writing and the Māori language. The featured poets include Anahera Gildea,  Kiri Piahana-Wong, Maraea Rakuraku, and Alice Te Punga Somerville. This bilingual collection features a poem each by seven Māori women writers, originally written in English, and a translation in the Māori language.

Syndetics book coverMaea te toi ora : Māori health transformations / Te Kani Kingi, Mason Durie, Hinemoa Elder, Rees Tapsell, Mark Lawrence, Simon Bennett.
“The six contributing authors in the collection include Simon Bennett, Mason Durie, and Rees Tapsell and are all well known in the mental health field. Each discusses aspects of Maori and indigenous health and the importance of culture to diagnosis, patient history, understanding causes, treatment and assessment of outcomes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeing together in place : indigenous coexistence in a more than human world / Soren C. Larsen and Jay T. Johnson ; foreword by Daniel R. Wildcat.
Being Together in Place highlights the challenging, tentative, and provisional work of coexistence between Native and Non-Native peoples in relation to contested spaces such as wetlands, treaty grounds, fishing spots, recreation areas, cemeteries, heritage trails, and traditional village sites.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Zealand Wars / Philippa Werry.
“Describing the origins of the wars, where and when they were fought, who was involved, and who they affected, this book also examines war memorials, the work of the Waitangi Tribunal, how the wars have featured in New Zealand arts and how they are remembered today. The story is accessible and full of fascinating detail, eye-witness accounts, illustrations and little known facts, with lists of websites, resources and books for those who want to discover more.” (Adapted from the publisher description)

Syndetics book coverTe Ao Hou : the new world, 1820-1920 / Judith Binney with Vincent O’Malley and Alan Ward.
Te Ao Hou explores the history of Maori and Pakeha from about 1830. As the new world unfolded, Maori independence was hotly contested; Maori held as tightly as they could to their authority over the land, while the Crown sought to loosen it. War broke out and for Maori the consequences were devastating, and the recovery was long, framed by poverty, population decline and the economic depression of the late nineteenth century.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTe Ao Hurihuri : the changing world, 1920-2014 / Aroha Harris with Melissa Matutina Williams.
Te Ao Hurihuri shows Maori engaged in building and rebuilding their communities through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Maori held fiercely to iwi-specific connectedness, community organisation and te reo me ona tikanga. New kinds of Maori institutions released the dynamism of tangata whenua, but the struggle continued against a background of social and economic hardship that burdens so many Maori lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New books on the NZ collection display shelf

Our latest selection features books, writers and publishing. Chris MacLean tells the story of making books in New Zealand from writing to publishing, and Helen Bones ponders the idea of writers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century having to leave New Zealand to find inspiration and success. There are also some new works of poetry from Anna Jackson and Chris Tse. From the history of a family to a history of William Colenso, there is always something in the New Zealand collection to catch your eye.

Syndetics book coverA way with words : a memoir of writing & publishing in New Zealand / Chris Maclean.
“From an early age, author and publisher Chris Maclean was told he had a way with words. This talent, which protected him from school bullies and made him a proficient debater, later became the focus of his professional life. A Way with Words tells the stories behind those volumes, all of which had challenges and rewards as various as their subjects. In candid, accessible style, and through a fascinating range of illustrations, Maclean describes the stages of book creation, from the first germ of an idea to writing, design, printing and distribution. A Way with Words is a celebration of a very New Zealand approach to writing and publishing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe expatriate myth : New Zealand writers and the colonial world / Helen Bones.
“Many New Zealand writers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century travelled extensively or lived overseas for a time, and they often led very interesting lives. The received wisdom is that they were forced to leave these colonial backblocks in search of literary inspiration and publishing opportunities. In The Expatriate Myth, Helen Bones presents a challenge to this conventional understanding, based on detailed historical and empirical research. Most who left New Zealand, even if they were away for a time, continued to write about and interact with their homeland, and in many cases came back. In this fascinating and clear-sighted book, Helen Bones offers a fresh perspective on some hoary New Zealand literary chestnuts.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWanted : the search for the modernist murals of E. Mervyn Taylor / edited by Bronwyn Holloway-Smith.
“Mervyn Taylor – wood engraver, painter, illustrator, sculptor and designer – was one of the most celebrated New Zealand artists of the 1930s to 1960s. He was highly connected to modernism and nationalism as it was expressed in the New Zealand art and literature of the period. Between 1956 and 1964 he created twelve murals for major new government and civic buildings erected in that era of great economic prosperity. Tragically, some have been destroyed and others presumed lost – until now. This fascinating and beautiful book, bursting with archival material, details the detective hunt for the murals and tells the stories of their creation. They cement Taylor’s place as one of New Zealand’s most significant artists, and are a celebration of the art and culture of our modernist era.” (Adapted from publisher’s website)

Syndetics book coverDear Oliver : uncovering a Pākehā history / Peter Wells.
“When writer and historian Peter Wells found a cache of family letters amongst his elderly mother’s effects, he realised that he had the means of retracing the history of a not-untypical family swept out to New Zealand during the great nineteenth-century human diaspora from Britain. His family experienced the war against Te Kooti, the Boer War, the Napier earthquake of 1931 and the Depression. They rose from servant status to the comforts of the middle class. There was army desertion, suicide, adultery, AIDS, secrets and lies. There was also success, prosperity and social status. In digging deep into their stories, examining letters from the past and writing a letter to the future, Peter Wells constructs a novel and striking way to view the history of Pakeha New Zealanders.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverhe’s so MASC / Chris Tse.
“In How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes, Chris Tse took readers back to a shocking 1905 murder. Now he brings the reader much closer to home. He’s So MASC confronts a contemporary world of self-loathing poets and compulsive liars, of youth and sexual identity, and of the author as character–pop star, actor, hitman, and much more. These are poems that delve into worlds of hyper-masculine romanticism and dancing alone in night clubs. With it’s many modes and influences, He’s So MASC is an acerbic, acid-bright, yet unapologetically sentimental and personal reflection on what it means to perform and dissect identity, as a poet and a person.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverPasture and flock : new & selected poems / Anna Jackson.
“Poets know words, know routes, know ghosts. Uneasy nights out with dead Russian poets, dalliances with German gasfitters and emotionally fraught games of badminton are brought together for the first time, along with a brand new body of work, in this time-spanning selection of Anna Jackson’s poetry. Local gothic, suburban pastoral and answerings-back to literary icons are all enhanced by Jackson’s light hand and sly humour. Pastoral yet gritty, intellectual and witty, sweet but with stings in their tails, the poems and sequences collected in Pasture and Flock are essential reading for both long term and new admirers of Jackson¿s slanted approach to lyric poetry.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMr Colenso’s Wairarapa : twelve journeys: 1843-1852 / Ian St George.
“William Colenso was a Victorian polymath: New Zealand’s first significant printer, liberal theologian, inspired educationalist, perceptive botanist, politician, explorer over much of the North Island: a man whose contributions to New Zealand history are amply recorded in the output from his press, his published scientific work, his own surviving publications, his many letters (including those to the editors of newspapers) and his journals and diaries. As the first missionary in Hawke’s Bay, 1843-1852, Colenso’s ‘parish’ extended west to Taupo and south to include the Wairarapa-Bush and this book records, from his own journals, his journeys on foot through the region.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand sign language : a reference grammar / Rachel McKee.
“One of the country’s three official languages, New Zealand Sign Language evolved in the communities that grew from networks of Deaf children at three schools for the Deaf from the late nineteenth century. The Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (1997) – now an invaluable online resource at nzsl.vuw.ac.nz – and the Concise Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (BWB, 2003) were landmarks in documenting the language. Today, NZSL forms part of the curriculum in intermediate schools, and New Zealanders are increasingly familiar with the language. Drawing on her experience of both teaching and researching NZSL, Rachel McKee has developed A Reference Grammar to support all those who are learning NZSL – students, families and friends of Deaf people, school teachers, public officials.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New learning resources in the New Zealand collection

This month you will find lots of new language resources for learning Te Reo Māori to have a look at in the New Zealand collection. We have featured one of the 4 volumes of ‘Māori Made Easy’ workbooks and a new fun way to learn, called A Māori word a day. There is also lots of variety with books on poetry, Māori musical instruments, cycling and World War 1.

Syndetics book coverMāori made easy : for everyday learners of the Māori language. Workbook/Kete 1 / Scotty Morrison.
“The accessible guide to learning the Maori language, no matter your knowledge level.
Fun, user-friendly and relevant to modern readers, Scotty Morrison’s Maori Made Easy workbook series is the ultimate resource for anyone wanting to learn the basics of the Maori language.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Māori word a day : 365 words to kickstart your reo / Hemi Kelly.
A Maori Word a Day offers an easy, instant and motivating entry into the Maori language. Through its 365 Maori words, you will learn the following-
– English translations – Word category, notes and background information
– Sample sentences, in both te reo Maori and English
Exploring the most common, modern and contemporary words in use today, A Maori Word a Day is the perfect way to kickstart your te reo journey!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTaonga pūoro = Singing treasures : the musical instruments of the Māori / Brian Flintoff.
“And to further breathe life into this book, the technical information about each instrument is interwoven with the stories and myths that belong to each instrument. In addition, instructions are given for making and playing these singing treasures, and there is an explanation of the art forms used in Maori carving.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTe ahu o te reo : reflecting on research to understand the well-being of te reo Māori / co-editors, Vincent Ieni Olsen-Reeder, Jessica Hutchings, Rawinia Higgins.
Te Ahu o te reo Maori: Reflecting on Research to Understand the Well-being of te reo Maori is an edited collection of bi-lingual writings that brings together Maori researchers, writers and community language advocates who were involved in the Te Taura Whiri-funded study. Contributors include: Vini Olsen-Reeder, Professor Rawinia Higgins, Jessica Hutchings, Jen Martin, Stephanie Fong, Associate Professor Jenny Bol Jun Lee-Morgan, Eruera Lee-Morgan, Waitiahoaho Emery.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWayfinder : new & selected poems / Jan FitzGerald.
“Any reader of the literary journals of the late 1960s and ’70s would have noted the name Jan Coad. Hone Tuwhare certainly did, and James K. Baxter, from both of whom Jan received admiration and friendship. In 2005 writing under her married name, FitzGerald, Jan launched her long-gestated collection, Flying Against the Arrow (Wolfdale Press). This was followed by On a Day Like This (Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2010). All the while, the poet was quietly maturing as an artist, and in this collection, for the first time, the two talents perform a happy tango.” (Mighty Ape summary)

Syndetics book coverThe kiwi cyclist’s guide to life / Jane King.
“The Kiwi Cyclists Guide to Life takes an inquisitive peek into the lives, minds, adventures and bike sheds, of many Kiwis from different walks of life, who love nothing better than experiencing freedom, fun, adventures and misadventures on two wheels. Whether road-racing at breakneck speed, soaring over jumps on a mountain bike in the forest, or navigating nature on a picturesque cycle trail at a more leisurely pace – many of us cant get enough of the thrills and spills that riding a bike provides. These tales are of the fun, enthusiasm and dedication of a variety of different characters – from high-profile elites, mountain biking trailblazers, BMX fanatics, cycling groups and communities, recreational riders – not forgetting the MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra), collectors, restorers and a bunch of under-the-radar bike-nuts you’ve got to watch out for.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJack’s journey : a soldier’s experience of the First World War / Jack Pryce ; edited by Trish McCormack and Andrew Gibson.
“When Jack Pryce sailed to war in 1915 with the Otago Infantry Battalion he was restless, wanting to “make good” of his life. Experiencing the carnage of Gallipoli and Passchendaele and other epic battles on the Western Front, he rose through the ranks to gain his commission.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnimism in art and performance / Christopher Braddock, editor. “This book explores Māori indigenous and non-indigenous scholarship corresponding with the term ‘animism’. In addressing visual, media and performance art, it explores the dualisms of people and things, as well as ‘who’ or ‘what’ is credited with ‘animacy’. It comprises a diverse array of essays divided into four sections: Indigenous Animacies, Atmospheric Animations, Animacy Hierarchies and Sensational Animisms.” (Syndetics summary)

Big Book Bash: Children and Youth Literary Festival

Fancy escaping from Wellington for the day? Then bring the family, head over the hills to Carterton in the Wairarapa and join in the fun at the BIG BOOK BASH on Saturday 2nd December. The Big Book Bash has something for everyone, with fun activities, readings, storytelling, workshops, book sales and signings, performances and more. Some of highlights include zine making with Murtle Chickpea, paper bag dogs with Fifi Colston, creative writing workshop with Mandy Hagar, Rainbow Storytimes with LaQuisha St Redfern and Pamela Hancock, author talks and readings with Juliette McIver, Paul Beavis, Allan Bagnall, Ali Foster, Anne Manchester, Mary MaCallum and so much more. With over 30+ events on offer and some amazing authors and illustrators to inspire and delight you this will be a day to be remembered and the best bit, it’s all FREE!

While you’re there perusing the offerings keep an eye out for the Wellington City Libraries’ stand where we will be running a Scavenger Hunt with a bag full of books for the prize!

What: Big Book Bash

Where: Carterton Events Centre, Carterton District Library and Carterton Community Courthouse

When: Saturday 2nd December, 11am – 6pm

Winter Health Events in July – Food and Sports

Hear an inspiring talk by Kenny McFadden (Steven Adams’ coach) on how he changed a young man’s life with basketball; listen to Anne Else talking about memories of New Zealand cooking and baking based on her world-renowned book: The colour of food: a memoir of life, love & dinner,  and get energized by having a go at Pilates with Anne from Thrive Pilates.
All events are free to attend, located on the warm Central Library ground floor.

Wednesday 12 July, 5:30-6:30pm, Anne Else Talk: The Colour of Food, A Memoir of Life, Love and Dinner
Monday 17 July, 12-1 pm, Anna (Thrive Pilates): Pilates Lesson
Saturday 29 July, 2-3pm, Kenny McFadden Talk: Steven Adams and Basketball

Author talk by Anne Else: The Colour of Food, a memoir of life, love & dinner

Syndetics book coverWellington author Anne Else will be sharing her inspirations of food based on her internationally renowned book: The colour of food : a memoir of life, love & dinner / Anne Else.
“She has the writer’s instinct for a good story and the editor’s keen eye for accuracy and brevity… This is a disarmingly intimate life account that fast forwards and winds back as she savors and suffers a life of friendship, motherhood, love, loss and mealtimes.”- Susette Goldsmith, Listener [sourced from Amazon.com]

Anne Else is a New Zealand writer, editor, blogger, and the author or co-author of five books on women and social history. In 2004 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature. The Colour of Food is her first book about her own story.

5:30-6:30pm, Wednesday 12 July,
Wellington Central Library Ground Floor.

Anna from Thrive Pilates: Pilates Lesson

Syndetics book coverHave a go with Pilates at Wellington Central Library. Anne from Thrive Pilates will teach you how to do Pilates, so wear your comfy clothes and start exercising on the floor.
Pilates is an exercise system that focuses on stretching and strengthening the whole body to improve balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. Thrive Pilates has given pilates a modern twist and is a fun way for you to achieve core control, alignment, precision, axial elongation, breathing, concentration and movement integration.

12-1 pm, Monday 17 July,
Wellington Central Library Ground Floor.

Kenny McFadden talk: Basketball

Syndetics book coverKenny McFadden was awarded Sports Legend of Wellington in 2014 and was introduced to the Hall of Fame. He is the coach who had changed Steven Adams from a troubled youth to an NBA star in the OKC Thunder team. Kenny McFadden was a “player-coach” of the Wellington Saints he took the team to 7 straight finals appearances winning 5 NBL titles from 1982 to 1988. Kenny founded Hoop Club, the largest basketball club in New Zealand. Kenny was the head coach for the Junior Tall Blacks, taking them to the FIBA U19 World Championships in 2009 in Auckland.  Kenny is also the president of the Wellington Basketball Association. Join Kenny McFadden for his inspiring talk about how he had changed a young person’s life through basketball.

2-3pm, Saturday 29 July,
Wellington Central Library Ground Floor.

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Recent additions to the NZ Collection

Always eclectic, new additions to the New Zealand Collection this month feature stories from a museum curator, a kiwi sanctuary, photography, poetry, the sad history of post war state care of children and lastly a murder mystery. The new book shelves of the NZ Collection have something to interest everyone.

Syndetics book coverThe unburnt egg : more stories of a museum curator / Brian Gill.
“Museum natural history collections have been called libraries of life. In The Unburnt Egg Brian Gill continues his spellbinding stories from more than thirty years as a curator. Some tales are so bizarre they read like fiction: a population of ship rats decimating the entire wildlife of an island and then collapsing; birds leaving their young to be raised by other birds; frogs and lizards living in trees and flying. Others reveal the painstaking detective work involved in solving mysteries presented by police, biosecurity agencies, government departments and members of the public. Frogs’ legs on sale as chicken, a feather hidden in a bag of sugar, a live boa constrictor on a street in snake-free New Zealand–it’s all in a day’s work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProject Kiwi : how one man’s passion for the land hatched New Zealand’s first community kiwi sanctuary/ Sue Hoffart.
Project Kiwi is New Zealand’s first community-led kiwi conservation project, on the Coromandel Peninsula.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThrough the eyes of a miner : the photography of Joseph Divis / Simon Nathan ; with assistance from Les Wright and Brendon Wilshire.
“Joseph Divis (1885-1967) photographed life in New Zealand mining towns where he lived and worked between 1909 and 1935. His images provide a unique record of life in some small communities, especially the now-abandoned town of Waiuta, near Reefton.” (Introduction)

Syndetics book coverThe road to hell : state violence against children in postwar New Zealand / Elizabeth Stanley.
“From the 1950s to the 1980s, the New Zealand government took more than 100,000 children from experiences of strife, neglect, poverty or family violence and placed them under state care in residential facilities. In homes like Epuni and Kingslea, Kohitere and Allendale, the state took over as parent. The state failed. Within institutions, children faced abysmal conditions, limited education and social isolation. They endured physical, sexual and psychological violence, as well as secure cells, knock-out sedatives and electro-convulsive therapy. This book tells the story of 105 New Zealanders who experienced this mass institutionalisation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark days at the Oxygen Café / James Norcliffe.
“James Norcliffe is one of New Zealand’s most widely published and anthologised poets. In Dark Days at the Oxygen Cafe, he looks over the shoulders of many characters and creatures, both real and imagined, and takes us deep into uncanny valleys. Poems about Seneca and James Dean sit alongside poems about a Turken dictator and an owl man. We share in a portentous UFO sighting, a small celebration for Laika the space dog, and Peter the Great being offered an Air New Zealand lolly. These scenes from myth, history, pop culture and personal experience make for a wryly funny, deeply felt collection that contemplates the quirks of shared and personal histories.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNothing for it but to sing : poems / Michael Harlow.
“Michael Harlow’s poems are small detonations that release deeply complex stories of psychological separations and attractions, of memory and desire. Frequently they slip into the alluring spaces just at the edges of language, dream and gesture, as they carefully lower, like measuring gauges, into the ineffable: intimations of mortality, the slippery nature of identity, longing, fear … This is a beautifully honed new collection.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMister Hamilton / John Dickson.
Mister Hamilton, John Dickson’s first collection in eighteen years, is an appealing, questioning mix of elements. Over a base of South Island bedrock (granite, schist, greywacke), Dickson has peopled this quietly fiery collection with day-to-day working voices and narratives, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes charged with a political consciousness and lyrical intensity. Shot-through with veins of jazz, rock and blues, quizzical religiosity and a streak of the absurd, this book takes a fresh look at the streets and lawns and people of urban and suburban ‘Pig Island’ and offers some thoughtful, wisely pitched and immensely likeable poems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe black widow : how one woman got justice for her murdered brother / by Lee-Anne Cartier.
“The Black Widow almost got away with murder. But then her sister-in-law became suspicious… The infamous Black Widow case shocked the nation. An average-looking suburban housewife carefully staged her husband’s ‘suicide’. At first it looked like she might get away with murder, but then her sister-in-law, Lee-Anne Cartier, became suspicious and started gathering evidence and presenting it to the police. Helen Milner, who became known as the Black Widow, was eventually convicted of murder and is now serving out her sentence in Arohata Prison. This book tells how Lee-Anne persevered and put together many strands of information to crack the case wide open.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Fiction Newsletter for July

Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter. This month we feature New Zealand writers in our ‘Other Genres’ category, as there are some talented new writers emerging. We have highlighted some wonderful novels from all our categories of recent picks, to ensure many hours of great reading during the long nights of mid-winter.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

Deciding on the novels to highlight in this month’s newsletter has been difficult due to the extraordinary number of brilliant writers recently received into the fiction collection. The following titles are just a taste of some great reading from the recent selection.

Syndetics book cover Zero K : a novel / Don DeLillo.
“Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Loney / Andrew Michael Hurley.
“When the remains of a young child are discovered during a winter storm on a stretch of the bleak Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, a man named Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family, along with members of their parish, embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine. But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites… Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The bricks that built the houses / Kate Tempest.
“Becky, Harry, and Leon are leaving London in a fourth-hand Ford with a suitcase full of stolen money, in a mess of tangled loyalties and impulses. But can they truly leave the city that’s in their bones? This novel reaches back through time, through tensely quiet dining rooms and crassly loud clubs–to the first time Becky and Harry meet. It sprawls through their lives and those they touch, of their families and friends and faces on the street, revealing intimacies and the moments that make them. And it captures the contemporary struggle of urban life, of young people seeking jobs or juggling jobs, harboring ambitions and making compromises.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Chosen for this newsletter are the only three stand-alone stories, from this month selection of new Graphic Novels, as the others were all the first volumes of new series.

Syndetics book cover My degeneration : a journey through Parkinson’s / Peter Dunlap-Shohl.
“How does one deal with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease at the age of forty-three? My Degeneration, by former Anchorage Daily News staff cartoonist Peter Dunlap-Shohl, answers the question with humor and passion, recounting the author’s attempt to come to grips with the “malicious whimsy” of this chronic, progressive, and disabling disease.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Beef with tomato / Dean Haspiel.
“A native New York bruiser is fed up with life in the dregs of a drug-addled Alphabet City where his neighbors are shut-ins and his bicycle is always getting stolen. He escapes from Manhattan to make a fresh start in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, only to face a new strain of street logic, where most everything he encounters is not as it seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Becoming unbecoming / Una.
“A devastating personal account of gender violence told in comic book form, set against the backdrop of the 1970s Yorkshire Ripper man-hunt. It’s 1977 and Una is 12. A serial murderer is at large in West Yorkshire and the police, despite spending more than two million man-hours hunting the killer and interviewing the man himself no less than nine times, are struggling to solve the case. As this national news story unfolds around her, Una finds herself on the receiving end of a series of violent acts for which she feels she is to blame. Unbecoming explores gender violence, blame, shame, and social responsibility.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

This month’ new Mysteries includes the first novel by Chinese writer Song Ying, titled Apricot’s revenge: a crime novel, is set in China. It promises an ingenious plot, providing captivating reading, and is highly recommended.

Syndetics book cover Little Sister / David Hewson
“Kim and Mia Timmers were ten years old when they were accused of murdering the rest of their family and the lead singer of the world famous band, The Cupids. The sisters, who have been in a Marken institution for ten years, are now due for release. Pieter Vos, DI in the Amsterdam police, is given cause to re-open the case when the girls disappear along with a nurse who was supposed to escort them to a half-way house. It soon becomes evident that there is more than meets the eye at Marken, and senior staff at the institution are beginning to panic as they fear certain secrets might come to light. When the dead body of the nurse washes up on the beach at Marken, it becomes clear that someone is posing as the third sister, Little Jo, who died ten years ago.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover In the cold dark ground / Stuart MacBride.
“Sergeant Logan McRae is in trouble. His missing-persons investigation has just turned up a body in the woods, naked, hands tied behind its back, and a bin bag duct-taped over its head. The Major Investigation Team charges up from Aberdeen, under the beady eye of Logan’s ex-boss Detective Chief Inspector Steel. And, as usual, she wants him to do her job for her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Apricot’s revenge : a crime novel / Song Ying ; translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin.
“A business tycoon in China is found dead; he apparently suffered a heart attack while swimming. But soon it becomes clear that he was murdered. Three immediate beneficiaries of his death become the suspects: the vice president of the company, Zhou, who is in line to take over his position; his young widow, Zhu, who stands to inherit a huge amount of wealth; and his arch business rival, Hong. Nie Feng, a young investigative reporter for a magazine, interviewed the victim just a few days before he died. Through his own research, Nie Feng discovers a new suspect who is not on the police’s radar.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

As readers of this genre expect they will be transported to new worlds, populated by a wide range of diverse characters, and placed in the most amazing situations. Each novel in this selection illustrates the brilliant imagination shown by each author.

Syndetics book cover Transgalactic / James Gunn.
“When Riley and Asha finally reached the planet Terminal and found the Transcendental Machine, a matter transmission device built by an ancient race, they chose to be “translated.” Now in possession of intellectual and physical powers that set them above human limitations, the machine has transported them to two, separate, unknown planets among a possibility of billions. Riley and Asha know that together they can change the galaxy, so they attempt to do the impossible, find each other.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The map of bones / Francesca Haig
“Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha, physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega, burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies so does the other.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Barren Cove : a novel / Ariel S. Winter.
“The robot Sapien is a relic of a bygone age, searching for meaning in a world where his outdated allegiances to a time long past have left him isolated and hopeless. Seeking peace and quiet, he retires to a beach house at Barren Cove, a stately Victorian manor even more antiquated than he. He becomes increasingly fascinated with the family whose lives are entwined with the home, angry and rebellious Clark: flamboyant Kent: fragile, beautiful Mary; and most of all, Beachstone, the mysterious man whose history may hold all the answers Sapien has been searching for.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

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Other genres

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.

Syndetics book cover 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)
Syndetics book cover 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)
Syndetics book cover 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)

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