My Father's Island

Dudding, Adam

  15 Reviews

From the 1950s to the 1980s, literary editor Robin Dudding, was involved in New Zealand's finest literary journals. But as talented as he was, there was a dark side to the life of this uncompromising nonconformist. Revealed sensitively and honestly by his son Adam, this is the riveting portrait of an unconventional man and his family woven through with the social and cultural history of the era and intrinsically linked with the development of modern New Zealand literature.

Part biography, part autobiography, this entertaining memoir is as enjoyably unconventional as the important cultural figure of its focus. [Larger font]



WELL 130
We - most of us - enjoyed the read. We appreciated the style of the writing. A familiar context (N.Z. 1960s -70s).
WELL 017
Most people enjoyed it without loving it, but it did provide some good discussion.
WELL 022
The group thoroughly enjoyed this memoir, particularly reading about authors who are now well known and established in New Zealand, but who were starting out at the time Robin Dudding was publishing their works. The book is a snapshot of social history in our country.
Interesting exploration of his father's looming presence over the family. The book captures a social group - a small literary clique from the the 60s and 70s, but fails to bring out the full dimension of Robin Dudding's role in the New Zealand literary scene - that awaits a literary biographer to reveal.
Well-written, but the author was too in depth with his father's associate writer/artists a third of the way into the book, which is where a few of our members became disinterested with it. Everyone felt that the mother was a product of the times really. Life was like that in the 60s/70s/80s. Father was the breadwinner, mother was the homemaker.
There were widely divergent views of this book. 3 enjoyed it, 7 felt very disappointed. Those who enjoyed the book liked the combination of biography ( of both Adam and Robin) and the process of writing the book. Others felt it was a slight story about an unimportant person, and was not sufficiently respectful of the other family members. We would like to have had more about Lois and the perspective of the older sisters.
Those who read it found it "well-written", "a real eye-opener to life in the years 1950 onwards in NZ". Another said "I think I would recognise the house if I walked into it, the descriptions were so good".
We had a good discussion about this book. Several commented on the style; some were concerned about it. Several felt the author was brave writing about his family, especially his father. However there was a lot of talk about Landfall and literacy during this time. The notes were very well-written. Thank you.
AUCK 060
Opinion was equally divided on this one, but it was a quick and easy read and created good discussion.
AUCK 100
The group found this a very interesting read, especially as some of the writers mentioned were known to some members. There was lots of discussion around the family dynamics, living conditions and the start given to writers at that time.
WELL 226
An intimate personal story about a father by his son concerning their relationship, and how growing up amidst that legacy and the chaos impacted the writer's life, and that of his siblings and mother.
TAUM 003
Enjoyed by half the group - not attempted by a couple of members. A good discussion was had, one member having been a neighbour of Natasha Dudding for several years.
WELL 001
This book occasioned a lot of discussion. We agreed it was well-written, and not hard to read, but members differed a good deal on whether it was successful or not. Some found it an interesting account of a NZ family, some liked the frank and conflicted portrait of the father, and the author's research leading to his book. It left others cold. A wide ranging and interesting discussion followed.
WELL 020
A long discussion last night - our thoughts went back to those (old) days. I thought the son was very brave to expose his family's odd lifestyle - interesting.
We all agreed this was a well-written, honest memoir which gave good insight into the Dudding family, and the literary society in the 1960s - 2000s New Zealand. We had a stimulating evening reminiscing about that time in our lives.