Antipodeans, The

McGee, Greg

  19 Reviews

It all started with Kiwis Harry Spence and Joe Lamont, escaped POWs from the Italian campaign joining the partisans in 1942. Decades later it's Harry's son Bruce's turn in these northern climes, coaching and playing rugby. And finally, even later still it's Clare, Bruce's adult daughter accompanying her father back to Italy, who will come to understand the family legacy first fashioned in the cauldron of WWII.

Moving between Italy and New Zealand, this is a rich and complex story of intergenerational intrigue, the risk of relationships not disclosed and the inexorable experience of war. [Larger font]



WELL 093
An enjoyable read but a bit long for some.
UPHU 007
A demanding read in that it was difficult to sort out the characters. We needed to re-cap several times to sort out relationships. Enjoyable book.
Though confusing at times with the number of characters, it was a good book, showing how war affects people and families.
AUCK 335
We all enjoyed this book which we thought gained from a second reading. We admired the author's skill in writing about several time periods and weaving them together. His account of partisan actions in northern Italy was gripping and obviously based on much research. The two main characters, Jo and Harry, were convincing. Overall we thought the book was an excellent portrayal of the damage done by war to those who fought and to their descendants: sober reading just before Anzac Day.
An interesting read, we enjoyed the characters and how they related to each other. It was an interesting take on the complexities of war, and what people do.
The group enjoyed the book. They liked the 'local' setting of North Otago. They felt it gave a good perspective on the extreme effects of war on returning soldiers. An insightful portrayal of the Italians' perspective. Some confusion keeping track of characters across generations and the assumed Italian names.
TAUR 049
Very interesting book which generated much discussion on many issues. Not an easy read due to time lines and generation shifts. However group felt well worth the effort required.
AUCK 063
Most enjoyed the NZ author and local settings. Vast range of years and geography, and many characters to get to know.
WELL 041
A wonderful book - we all found it totally absorbing. Two of our members had fathers who had fought in WW2 in Italy, which brought it much closer to us. Greg McGee has written a fascinating book which we all found hard to put down.
CHCH 078
All but one member enjoyed 'The Antipodeans' and were able to discuss the many aspects of plot, setting and characters, all agreeing that they made for great reading. One member drew up the family connections, which in chart form, was enlightening.
NAP 023
We all loved this book ( and so did at least 3 husbands!). It did call for a bit of "brain strain" sorting out the three generations, but we agreed this was an author's ploy to keep us interested. A great insight into the partisan differences in Northern Italy!
ASHB 016
We all loved this book - best book 'discussion' this year. Loved the NZ content, more about people & relationships than the war. Hard to get into to and quite confusing with characters with different names, places & times but once into it, couldn't put it down. Two are buying the book. Would have been good to have had a family tree. Two of us had relatives who were in the war in Italy - my grandad was a POW who escaped and lived in a cave, with locals supplying food. He and my mother went back and visited when he was in his 70s to thank the families, so quite a relevant story for me.
AUCK 008
Generally this book was liked as it was interesting and informative, but several thought it could have been shortened considerably. As it is a book for English readers, why write paragraphs in Italian, only to translate them Did we need to know so much about the science and philosophy of black holes or the strategy of rugby games
Enjoyed by the group. A theatre of war we knew very little about, even though Kiwi troops were very involved.
WINT 002
Thoroughly enjoyed by all. Great story. Interesting storytelling.
NELS 040
Thorough research makes this an excellent read.
AUCK 015
Everyone in our group enjoyed this book. It was interesting that 'antipodes' means opposites. NZers generally take it to mean the Australia- NZ area. A well chosen title for a story about all sorts of opposites of cultures and historical periods. The history of the WW2 period in Italy, NZ soldiers' experiences and life in NZ in the post war period, were well integrated into the individual character's story. Clare and Bruce's characters were not fully developed but they were only there to initiate the story.
WELL 016
Hard to get into, but overall enjoyed. Needed family tree to keep track of characters.
RICH 007
A mixed response to this book. Majority didn't persevere. Two of us did and enjoyed the book. We liked the background of the Italian resistance - a different aspect of WW II.