intraspace: the review lounge

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

the house of strife

the house of strife, by maurice shadbolt

this one came from the op-shop - anna was on her usual buying spree at the sallies, and i rescued this from the pile.

having studying nz lit at university i was well aware of maurice shadbolt - i probably read a short story by him or something. 'the house of strife' is part of a trilogy of historical novels based in nz around the time of the new zealand wars, in which european power sort to impose its will on maori tribes that didn't like the idea of colonial government.

i have to say i enjoyed this book immensely - it had all the hallmarks of a cracking good story without sacrificing an intelligent approach.

the narrator of the story is an englishman named wildblood who has made a name for himself writing pulp fiction about 'maoriland' from the safety of a london apartment. when a ruffian turns up with claims of plagiarism and threatening to kill him, wildblood flees on the next ship to the antipodes and finds himself experiencing new zealand firsthand - arriving just prior to one of the first engagements of the new zealand wars.

the new zealand he enters is more alarming and complicated than anything he has ever written about. and thus begins the story...

highly recommended.

on the stereo: 'when it happens it moves all by itself' by telefon tel aviv, from the album 'a map of what is effortless'.

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