Beside the Dark Pool

Kidman, Fiona

  8 Reviews

Covering the period 1958-2006, this is the second instalment of Dame Fiona's memoir. Interwoven with personal history that reflects on influences and experiences, it is also a social commentary of the political and societal events of the era. From the Springbok Tour, Muldoon and Rogernomics, to an intimate perspective of New Zealand's literary scene, it offers a recognisable overview of life in New Zealand. Often provocative and evocative in turn, it is a candid and accessible account of a life well-lived.

Comments from Groups

We did enjoy sharing the writer's life and her view on events, organizations and people with whom she was involved; and discussed it all at length. Coromandel 002

We noted the feminist theme, also racism with the Tour issues, and societal changes. So an interesting discussion as these were times we all lived through. Some of the best discussion we've had for ages. Auckland 133

Quite a divisive book! Some of our group quite liked it, others really didn't. We found the style somewhat long winded and felt there wasn't a great flow of events, more jumping from topic to topic. Lots of unnecessary name dropping and harsh criticism of individuals. Auckland 267

An interesting look at what was happening in NZ from 70's onwards - women's lib, protest marches etc - only 1 member of our group had not 'marched' on some pretext or other. Auckland 055

Most really enjoyed it. Two felt it was not so! Lots of discussion over Springbok Tour and attitudes towards it, radical women and effect of feminist movement of 70's and the extent to which Kidman had influenced writers in NZ. Picton 002



CHCH 240
Mixed reviews on this book but those who finished it thought it fascinating, especially those who knew of Kidman's writing. She is very direct and to the point in expressing her feelings and views on fellow professionals, politicians, and even her own family.
AUCK 037
We were quite divided on this book. Some were disappointed and thought it rather dull - others found it fascinating and absorbing and enjoyed the anecdotes etc. But overall, most felt that she is a much better fiction writer than of the memoir style.
A very interesting discussion with very mixed ratings by the group. The general impression was that the writing was not as good as her first autobiography - some criticisms that there were areas of her own personal life that should have been edited out.
We scored this book relatively highly, and enjoyed the fact that many of the author's reminiscences were our own as we are contemporaries of hers. A good read.
Enjoyable read and an interesting insight into the person and wider NZ cultural scene.
A very interesting book - we learned a lot about writers and their 'writing' lives and their world. It made us think about the 'Springbok' tour of 1981, and where we were!
ASHH 001
We found that people who had lived through the times of the Springbok tour and Muldoon, enjoyed this book (including me) as we could relate to it and it boosted our recall of this time. Those too young and newcomers to NZ found it quite dull.
AUCK 135
Interesting observations of the times from her perspective.