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Cathie Dunsford

Forfatter af Cowrie

12 Works 85 Members 2 Reviews

Om forfatteren

Image credit: Cathie Koa Dunsford. Photo by Simon Birkenfeld (Manatū Taonga).

Værker af Cathie Dunsford

Cowrie (1994) 25 eksemplarer
The Exploding Frangipani: Lesbian Writing from Australia and New Zealand (1990) — Redaktør; Bidragyder — 10 eksemplarer
Song of the Selkies (2001) 10 eksemplarer
The Journey Home (1997) 8 eksemplarer
Me and Marilyn Monroe (1993) 8 eksemplarer
Ao Toa: Earth Warriors (Cowrie) (2004) 7 eksemplarer
Subversive Acts (1991) 6 eksemplarer
Manawa Toa (2000) 6 eksemplarer
New Women's Fiction (1986) 2 eksemplarer
Kia Kaha Cowrie (1998) 1 eksemplar
Kaitiakitanga Pasifika (2012) 1 eksemplar

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This is described as an "eco-novel" which sets up distractingly misleading expectations. It took me a long time to get my head around what it was: for the first while I was describing it as 70% someone transcribing the transactions of a fictional conference on sustainability, 30% engineering project. This isn't quite accurate (for one thing, although the characters are mostly fictional, I think the conference was actually partly real, and also it wasn't a conference, it was a much longer wānanga) but if I'd known this at the start I'd have been much less at risk of putting the whole thing down after a dozen pages out of exasperation at the blatant didactics.

Which would have been a shame because, although it's really rather bewildering as a novel from which one might expect something resembling plot, it is amazingly educational and interesting approached from the angle of what it actually is. It's like reading a "all the good bits" summary of a conference proceedings on what is a fascinating topic. We get a faithful narrative of the kōrero presented on various aspects of sustainability in Hawaii, Tahiti, Alaska, but particularly New Zealand (hence the kaitiakitanga of the title), along with entire extended book reviews and movie reviews, plus the discussions between attendees and of course the hands-on practical mahi - from collecting seaweed to building an earth oven through to the more ambitious project of a solar-powered waka traveling from Hawaii to New Zealand via Tahiti.

If at the start of the book, attempting to read it as story, I was bored and frustrated, by the end I was getting downright excited about the potential in my own garden.

(There was even a clue in text towards the end, spoken by one of the characters, as to why the author may have chosen this drama-less form for a novel. If so, I can see the point. But the experience of reading it was super-weird.)
… (mere)
zeborah | Jul 30, 2014 |
This book is a book to read beneath the text.
On the surface this is a very rough novel. The protagonist is rather flat, the dialogue is forced and un-natural (too pat and rote to be believable) and the tertiary characters are uni-dimensional.
However, underneath the text and the story-line there is a dialogue going on that interested me. Being an English Literature academic... this book is about that sphere... it is written, much like a David Lodge book, in the dialogue of Literature Theory and presents arguments and philosophical stances that an academic in this field will be able to "read."
That is... this book is more a story of subversive literature running up against the literary, euro-centric, academic canon. It is a post-colonial discourse... and as such was immensely interesting to me.
Not a particularly good "read" though, although I may be judging it through my eurocentric lens and calling that into question and transgressing those expectations may just be the whole point of this novel.
… (mere)
tngolden | Oct 23, 2008 |

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½ 3.7

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