I took down all the Christmas cards. I didn't put up any decorations this year, maybe when the winter solstice arrives I shall fill my crib with pine boughs and holly. That makes more sense, celebrating the lengthening hours of daylight, we need a bit of celebration then. But I shall be in Crete, sunbathing under the grapevine in my patio.
And I finished reading the books I bought with the tokens I was given. And at least one of them was a treasure, as in well written, funny, readable. No, it was not 'Over & Out From Down Under' W.D.DaviesISBN 978-0-473-15851-4 NZ$12.50. It was THE LIFE & DEATH OF LAURA FRIDAY AND OF PAVAROTTI,HER PARROT. by David Murphy, ISBN 978-1-86950-700-8 . Published byHarper Collins. I found it on the $10 table at the Warehouse, AND IT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THERE!!! When is New Zealand going to recognise our talented writers and buy their books so that we don't find them on throw out tables.
David Murphy writes like Ronald Hugh Morrieson, or Gaylene Gordon would if they were living in the 21st century. Dare I say 'Carl Stead with a sense of humour?' It is is a densely woven, picaresque but kind look at small town New Zealand, plus a view of young Kiwis on their O.E.s in the eighties.
I could go on praising 'Laura Friday etc.' but what I want to say is:
GET DOWN TO THE WAREHOUSE AND BUY A COPY BEFORE THEY RUN OUT.
OH HOW I WISH I COULD WRITE A STORY HALF AS GOOD (and don't forget I came second to Maurice Shadbol in the 1995 Mansfield awards.)
David Murphy lives in Greytown, that snobbush little blot on the landscape between Featherston and Carterton. He even mentions the tree pushed over the Rimutakas in a wheelbarrow, but changed it from a eucalyptus to an oak. And he has some very perceptive comments about Irish Catholics who settled here.
IT IS A GEM, I LOVE IT.