The minimalistic, but striking cover hints at the premise of the novel; if you
save a life you are now responsible for the person you rescued.
Afghanistan war veteran, Hunter Grant, willingly
embraces this concept when he finds a stranger near death on his remote
Northland bush property. The mystery deepens when he discovers she’d been
shackled and was prepared to die rather than be recaptured by her tormentor;
whom she refers to as Master.
By page two I was hooked by the foreboding sense of danger and I
wanted to know Dao’s backstory of how she’d been enslaved and escaped, and why
she was still being hunted.
Emotionally scarred by his war experiences, Hunter has maintained a
distance within his relationships with women. Now he has to open up his
feelings so he can handle Dao’s fragile physical and mental state, and gain her
trust so she will divulge the secrets of her past life, before Master tracks
her down and eliminates her.
Hunter, places himself firmly in the firing line as they
unravel the mystery of Dao’s life, but Dao is more than a victim, she’s a
survivor, who has her own role to play in her destiny. As the story develops
the complexity of her character is revealed. The bond between Scruff, Hunter’s
dog, and Dao enhances the human aspects of the unfolding drama, as the details
of her horrific ordeal are uncovered.
The book pages are cleanly presented in a no fuss style. There’s
a clearly defined timeline as the story is filtered through Hunter’s point of
view. Crisp descriptive language visually portrays the rural forest settings
and the urban cityscape of Auckland.
Suspense fuels this tightly written and fast paced New
Zealand thriller that grips from the beginning.
by Wendy Scott
Title: The Chinese Proverb Author: Tina Clough Publisher: Lightpool Publishing ISBN: 978-0473379261 RRP: $34.99 Available: Bookshops
Tradition: He Kōrero nō te Ao Tawhito by Jane McRae
Most New Zealanders will be
familiar with certain names, incidents or texts from Māori oral tradition:
migration stories, or the exploits of Māui, for instance. These are from a
tradition of huge variety and depth, much of it transcribed during the
nineteenth century either directly by Māori, or through collections assembled
by interested Pākehā.
This book offers a way of looking at those traditions, dividing them into
categories according to their structure and purpose. So we have
genealogies (whakapapa),sayings and proverbs (whakataukī), narratives,
histories, stories and myths (kōrero), and songs and chants (waiata)
Illustrative examples in Maori, with English translations, are given
throughout. Even those with little knowledge of Māori language will find it
rewarding to read aloud the Māori versions, in order to hear the rhythms and
imagine the dramatic pauses and emphases – those things that are lost in
translation and, to some extent, simply by being put into writing.
Language both affects the way the world is viewed and, in turn,
is heavily influenced by that world view. In considering Māori oral traditions,
the author demonstrates how particular words and phrases, or particular names,
were used to prompt the recollection of incidents or other people or stories
associated with them. Thus what might seem to a reader of the transcripts to be
overly brief or incomplete narratives would have been, to the listeners on
the marae, oral performances rich in meaning.
Throughout the book, there is commentary on and illustration of
the way the traditions reflect the inner life of Māori in the old world – the
deep significance of immediate family and of wider social groupings, of ties to
land, of key ancestral figures, of reciprocities, the satisfaction of victories
and the pain of defeats. There is drama. There is poetry. It is a literature
unique to this country, yet it is an important part, too, of universal oral
traditions, and thus of world literature. Furthermore, as the author
points out, these oral traditions continue to be “a real and influential part
of the Māori world.”
The author says: “Knowledge in the oral society…did not come from
one kind of text alone…” Indeed not; and the same could be said of the
‘literary’ world. A reading of the novels from, say, Victorian England, will
provide a deeper, more intuitive knowledge of what it was like to have been a part
of life there, in that time, than could any history book. We understand the
past best when we experience it through the literature, oral or written, of
those who lived it.
It is impossible in a brief review to pay sufficient tribute to
the accessible style in which this book is written, and to the many significant
issues that are raised in it. The author states that one of her main aims in
writing it was to encourage Māori language and literature students to discover
more of the riches to be found in the “manuscript trove” of transcribed oral
literature; and surely any such student reading the book would be enthused. But
for the general reader, the book offers insights into the contribution Māori
oral tradition can make to an understanding of what it should mean to be a New
Zealander, and what it means to be human.
Auckland University Press has played its part in making this book
pleasurable. The layout is neat and reader-friendly. The scholarly
endnotes, and the comprehensive bibliography and index, are useful without
being obtrusive. It has that rare thing, a cover that enhances the text, the
symbolism incorporated there being succinctly explained in a note on the
reverse of the title page. Physically, the book provides the sort of tactile and
visual pleasure that is exclusive to an admirably assembled combination of ink
But of course it really comes down to the text, and without doubt
the author has written something of exceptional value. Read it. Be enriched.
Review by Tony Chapelle
Title: Māori Oral Tradition: He Kōrero nō te Ao Tawhito
Author: Jane McRae
Publisher: Auckland University Press
ISBN: 978 1 86940 861 9
Out to Lunch - A Collection of writing by Judith Dale, Annabel Fagan, Robin Fleming, Terry Kennaway, Pat Rosier and Kate Torrens.
This is a collection of writing by six Kapiti women, who meet to workshop
one another's stories, talk and share food.
There are tales of love and stories of heartbreak, but the common thread holding the book together is the shared perspective of a different point of view, the outsider voice of the lesbian writer.
Available from: THE WOMEN'S BOOKSHOP
Midnight Feast - A collection of writing by Annabel Fagan, Robin Fleming, Terry Kennaway, Pat Rosier, Barbara Simmons & Kate Torrens.
Includes stories, poetry and fragments of novels from a group who meet
regularly to workshop one another's stories, talk and share food.
In this diverse collection, the authors offer rich treats for any palate: dreamy echoes of the past, a 1970's adventure on the road to Kathmandu, a smorgasbord of tales short and long, wry snippets and tidbits from everyday life, and a spine shivering futuristic story. The common thread holding the collection together is the lesbian lens that informs it.
Available from: UNITYBOOKSONLINE