Sunday, November 1, 2015

New Zealand November

With only two months left of my project to read books from and set in Oceania, I needed to make a few plans. A retired professor, who had spent considerable time in Australia, has loaned me a few books from her collection, and I had a few more on my shelf. Her contributions were almost all memoirs by female New Zealanders, and one of those stories has also been made into a movie!

Authors from New Zealand I have already read:
Eleanor Catton - I read The Rehearsal and started the Booker-Prize winning The Luminaries
Emily Perkins - I read The Forrests last year
Katherine Mansfield - I read The Aloe earlier this year (discussed on Episode 033 of the podcast)

I would really like to read more from Katherine Mansfield! My library has a bunch of volumes of her short stories, even her letters, so that is promising.

Books I have on hand that I plan to try:

One Whale, Singing by Marion McLeod and Lydia Wevers
The Bone People by Keri Hume (Booker Prize winner!)
Hot October by Lauris Edmond
Bonfires in the rain by Lauris Edmond
The quick world by Lauris Edmond
Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff
An Autobiography by Janet Frame

Despite the fact that I'd be lucky to get through the stack I already have, I have other ideas for what I would like to read during New Zealand November. I have never read anything from Maori authors, and feel like it only makes sense to do so, but I'm not sure where to begin. I've heard good things about Clayton Hamish, so I went ahead and requested Wulf from the library. I'd like to read some of Janet Frame's fiction, some of Lauris Edmond's poetry, and more from Katherine Mansfield. One of Rose Tremain's novels, The Colour, is historical fiction set in New Zealand but the author herself is not from NZ. Into The River by Ted Dawe has had a lot of press because it was banned throughout the entire country of New Zealand in a move that seemed to belong more in the 1910s, but I'm not sure if it's considered "good" or just "banned." 

One thing that really strikes me is that most of these authors are female! That is surprising but there are enough male authors around the world that I do not feel the need to balance this one out. Do you have any favorites from New Zealand? Anything I'm missing? What about food? I've made pavlova and have plans for a few more baked goods.


  1. I just came across your blog as a fellow reader of books from many places. The New Zealand book I have read is The Bone People. Keri Hulme is part Maori and the book certainly incorporates Maori themes. It is one of the books I have felt most strongly about. At times I loved it and at times I absolutely hated it. It is intense!

    1. Oh it's good to know she is part Maori; that changes some things. I do hope to try that one out this month. Thanks for stopping by!


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