08 July 2013

My June Book Watch Column From The New Zealand Herald

Here's my June Book watch column from the New Zealand Herald:

from The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider, by Janis Freegard - print and ebook - http://www.anomalouspress.org/books/alice.php

Janis Freegard is an excellent New Zealand poet who features an alter ego called Alice Spider in many of her poems. This US-published chapbook brings together a number of the Alice Spider poems. Their characteristic tone is wry and sometimes surreal, but don’t be fooled: Alice is a character who goes for what she wants and gets things done. It’s a joy to read such sparky poetry.

The Shingle Bar Sea Monster and Other Stories, by Laura Solomon - print and ebook - http://www.amazon.com/The-Shingle-Monster-Other-Stories/dp/9888167359

Laura Solomon is a New Zealand writer whose work tends towards magic realism: stories in which fantastic events take place in an otherwise realist world. It’s a style of fiction most closely associated with Latin American writing, but in this collection Laura Solomon uses it to make what might otherwise be low-key stories ‘pop’, as they say in Hollywood: her characters, many of them girls and young women, show their mettle when confronted with bride-seeking sea monsters, angels, and men who howl for the moon, among other unsettling factors. Well worth reading.

The Spiral Tattoo, by Michael J. Parry - ebook - http://www.amazon.com/The-Spiral-Tattoo-ebook/dp/B0058DUKOU

I enjoyed this entertaining novel about a large troll and a small flying Eleniu who are partners in the City Guard of a trading city with six sentient races. While there's nothing especially original in this fantasy world, it makes a good backdrop to the murder investigation which is at the foreground of the story. Although I felt the villain, one of the most intriguing characters, was kept in the background a bit too long, I had a lot of fun reading this story – enough that I’ve now bought the second book in the series.

Night's Glass Table by Karen Zelas - print and ebook - http://ipoz.biz/Titles/NGT.htm

It took me a little while to warm up to this collection by Christchurch poet Karen Zelas — I felt as though the poems were keeping me at arms’ length — but once I got used to her quiet but insistent style, I enjoyed these sharply-observed poems about relationships, travel, family, and life in post-quake Christchurch. There is a lot of poetic technique, and many years of thought, at play here.


Janis said...

Thanks for the mention, Tim!

Karen said...

Thanks, Tim. I'm glad my poems managed to reach you.

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