Cowley, Joy

  21 Reviews

Navigation is Joy Cowley's story. From her childhood in 1940s Foxton, to family life, marriages and international fame as a writer, Joy takes us on a candidly told and often surprising journey. She touches down constantly at her retreat centre in the Marlborough Sounds, where she writes passionately about the seasons and the natural world. Warm, sensitive and peppered with Joy's irrepressible love of life, Navigation is a relaxed and beautifully written memoir. [Taken from the book cover.] NZ Interest

Comments from Groups

An easy book to read; it created much discussion. It encompassed many parts of her life, personal, creative etc and the part that surprised us all most was her spiritual, religious writings. There were several teachers in the group who all related well to much of her writing about her teaching of reading. The non teachers didn't find this as interesting. Overall, an enjoyable read. Akaroa 005

Thoroughly enjoyed it, easy read. Joy Cowley expresses herself well. An adventurous woman - obviously her life experiences influence her writing. One member loved the way Joy is so visual. Joy turned everything into a positive experience and was a woman who could see possibilities. The value of oral history was emphasised as a basis of storytelling. Carterton 001

Everyone was interested that it was a memoir but were also interested in getting a wider perspective of some of her life events. A lot of interest persisted from her hardship, how the community was supportive of everyone and this provided a lot of material for her stories. Everyone was impressed by the developing of school journals with New Zealand relevant stories. Auckland 166



GORE 001
What a beautiful book, what a beautiful woman. We all want to visit Fish Bay. Some readers found the passage about Joy's attempt to suicide rather unsettling, but agreed that it was an integral part of the book - HER story.
CHCH 299
Everyone enjoyed this book. It's easy to read, has interesting insights into NZ's social history and the development of NZ children's literature. A former teacher found her style a bit preachy at times, ie. on how children should be taught, but this led to a discussion on the changes in children's books and education styles.
This book was a revelation to all of us. Maybe unsung in N.Z She has done so much - especially for early readers.
We found this a very easy to read book. Felt as though we were sitting with her and involved in a conversation. Beautifully written, lovely language and overall an excellent read.
PICT 005
We all recognised Joy Cowley's multiple talents, both creative and practical, culminating in an enjoyable read.
ASHB 027
Reception of this book was mixed; we enjoyed an insight into Joy's life and how she lived but parts were slow and uninteresting. Some of us loved it and some not so much. An insprrational woman none the less.
We all enjoyed this very much. Many comments on finding out more about the life and career of a beloved N.Z. author. Someone even brought along Mrs Wishy Washy to share!
AUCK 335
An easy read and as we are all about her age it roused many memories. Several members loved this book, others liked it but found some of the family information uninteresting and were not so engaged by her spirituality. We found her views on writing and on children's literature very interesting, were surprised to learn she had written novels, and were disappointed there was nothing about her more recent books, 'Aotearoa Psalms' and 'Psalms Down-Under'.
Most rated Joy's book highly and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. We enjoyed reading about the craft involved in writing children's books. Some found the middle section a bit harder to get through and we admired her honesty and the way she handled sensitive subjects without saying too much. Beautifully written. "When we all grow up, we want to be children."
Loved by most members. Inspiring author, we have great respect for Joy Cowley and were very moved by her writing. Triggered childhood memories and generated good discussion.
CHCH 449
Interesting insight into Joy Cowley's life. Naturally a great style of writing but some of us found it got a little slow and even tedious in the middle.
TURA 001
What a great and easy read, but a book so full of life and wonderful stories - we will think about them for a while! We will have to have a look for more novels by her now!
AUCK 171
We all loved this one. We related to a story of our time set in New Zealand. Joy is funny and poignant. A lovely memoir.
TAUP 006
All of us enjoyed this memoir very much. It provoked a very lively discussion and we shared many memories of events in our lives that were similar to Joy Cowley's. There was much favourable mention of how Cowley covered difficult topics without going into too much graphic detail.
ROTO 002
All thoroughly enjoyed this book, some wishing for more autobiographical detail. Good discussion about the writer and the difference between the genres of memoir and autobiography.
We liked the idea of a memoir as opposed to an autobiography. The group had quite mixed opinions of the book and of Joy Cowley herself. Some thought her a really positive, kind woman whilst others thought her too good to be true. Some found the writing quite lyrical and beautiful and the book itself really enjoyable. Others thought the story quite boring, with what might have been the most interesting parts either glossed over or omitted altogether. Several of us saw a parallel between her writing and the movement of the sea she wrote so eloquently about.
NELS 009
The group members all loved this book, and were off to find and read Joy Cowley's own books. People noted feeling "energised and inspired", and also admired the "deceptive simplicity" of her style of writing.
AUCK 015
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this book, even those who generally prefer fiction and/or dislike biographical material. The book contained gentle humour, and deepened everyone's knowledge and understanding of Joy as an author and a person. The language was excellent and very descriptive. We all felt that if there had not been people in Joy's early life who were able to facilitate and encourage her talent, we may not have experienced this great New Zealander.
AUCK 116
Loved the book. An amazing woman, and a very modest one as well. The majority of our group are teachers or have connections with school libraries, so know her childrens' books and readers well. We have also read many of her religious works. We thoroughly enjoyed our first book of the year.
Wonderful read by a wonderful NZ author. Enjoyed by all.
Our group felt that Joy Cowley's memoir was very inspirational. She has the trick of understating very important values and truths within a lively awareness of her place in creation as she experiences it. She has an eye for the beauty and purpose in living, and has a passion to share the things she cares about... She has a regard and respect for the history of the past and the importance of the present to create a better future for all. Highly recommended.