07 December 2008

Transported Reviewed by New Zealand Books: "Dazzling and Highly Entertaining"

Isa Moynihan's highly positive review of Transported - which you can buy online from Fishpond, New Zealand Books Abroad (for both overseas and New Zealand residents), or Whitcoulls - has just appeared in the latest issue of New Zealand Books. Here's some of what she has to say:

"That 16 of the 27 stories in Tim Jones's collection Transported were previously published in magazines and anthologies including Best New Zealand Fiction 4 (2007) testifies to their appeal to both editors and readers. They contrast brilliantly with the other two collections [she reviews] not only in variety of style and genre but also in originality of ideas. There are satire and surrealism; dystopias and parables; 19th century pastiches and contemporary vernacular – sometimes juxtaposed, as in "The Visit of M. Foucault to His Brother Wayne". And all spangled with literary references and other, sometimes arcane, allusions ….

Other targets for Jones's skewering wit are politics, corporations, advertising, xenophobia, pretentious lit crit and (my favourite) the invasion of the local arts scene by bureaucracy and commercial jargon. In "Said Sheree", poets are ranked in tiers "for funding purposes" and are reassessed and reclassified every autumn. Both "Win a Day with Mikhail Gorbachev" and "Best Practice" give us caricatures of the worst excesses of corporate values in the best traditions of brilliant cartoonists ….

So, dazzling and highly entertaining and, for that reason, somewhat lacking in the canonical requirements of depth and layering. But sometimes an epigram says more than an essay." (p. 25)

Thank you, Isa!

A review as good as that as always welcome, but I am especially pleased that it has appeared in New Zealand Books, which is the New Zealand equivalent of the New York Review of Books or the London Review of Books, publishing long reviews, literary essays, and poems. Check out the New Zealand Books website for subscription information, including the just-announced option to take out a digital subscription at a cheaper rate. I've been a subscriber to New Zealand Books for several years, and it's always an interesting, thought-provoking read.


harvey molloy said...

Good one, Tim! I'm also an NZ Books fan and have even reviewed for them a couple 'o times! How you read 'Transported' depends on your expectations of the short story. Now fantasy and SF have pushed the boundaries just as much as more 'high culture' (academic) overtly postmodernist experimentation. So the reviewers picks up and enjoys the sort of work your writing without wanting it to be a poignant slice 'o life. You've also reminded me to renew my subs to NZ Books.

Tania Hershman said...

What a great review, Tim, and all true, as someone who is in the midst of enjoying your book. Well done!

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Harvey and Tania!

Harvey, I think your comment "how you read 'Transported' depends on your expectations of the short story" is very true: hmmm, I see a future of "how to read 'Transported'" online courses and mass re-education centres for critics ... or, on second thoughts, maybe not.

And Tania, we are in the fortunate position of each being in the midst of enjoying the other's book!

Helen Rickerby said...

Congratulations on such a good review Tim. It must be very gratifying, especially because it's in NZ Books.

HelenL said...

Hey Tim, congratulations--what a great review. And very well deserved.