This collection of nineteen essays encompasses a diverse range of subjects. From history to race relations, from the craft of writing to those of a more personal nature, Clendinnen's observations and reflections are topical and thought provoking. Written over a number of years, each essay is elegantly crafted and impeccably delivered.
Comments from Groups
The majority of our members loved this book. We appreciated the authors evenhandedness in recording history, her humanity when outlining dreadful aspects in some essays. Not least her excellent writing and humour! Well worth buying a copy. Auckland 058
Well written. Pleasant change to have short stories. Auckland 007
Book didn't score highly - but range of topics discussed was incredible. We all agreed we should have spread out the reading over the whole month - being essays. Whakatane 008
Outstanding essays both in their scope and style. They have insight and compassion expressed in a fluent personal voice. Palmerston North 008
Too academic - one loved it and gave it 10/10 but remainder of group 3-4/10. Nelson 022
We all found this a wonderful book - a collection of essays that were so well-written, and covered a range of topics to which we could all relate.
Only 5 at this discussion and only 3 had read it! They all liked her style very much and found the topics interesting.
Generally, we found at least parts of the book enjoyable and interesting, but there were a number of reservations about it being too uneven, self-centred and too clever. Everybody agreed that much of the writing was stylish and thought-provoking with some real gems. It generated an excellent discussion, especially on history, death and the nature of evil.
We all enjoyed the book although some members wouldn't pick short stories over novels. We thought the author gave us plenty of food for thought and liked the honest writing style.
Many of the group found the essays a bit heavy going and so didn't get into it. Others found particular essays interesting and appreciated those while choosing to skip others. All of us agreed the author writes extremely well and her insightful views on Australia's treatment of aboriginals was a large part of our group discussion, as well as her health issues and being a 'patient'. We were sad to learn that Inga Clendinnen passed away in Sept this year.
People enjoyed this although not everyone read all the essays. The discussion went very well, and working through all the questions led the conversations off on several tangents which was great. Being a new group, this helped with building relationships within the group.
Varied and interesting.