Review of the "Best New Zealand Short Fiction, Vol 5"

Kuttainen, Victoria (2009) Review of the "Best New Zealand Short Fiction, Vol 5". The Short Review, 5. .

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Abstract

"Above them, in the loneliness of the forest, the sky was deep and blue, and the silver stars were as molten as if the fire had melted them. Flames cackled and spat red and orange in the blackness. The Coruba in the bottle that Genesis held sloshed around, glinting as it caught the light. sparkling like his eyes. He was like a dark magician. He'd folded the night into his pocket, and pulled out his fingers holding a fire. Claire looked upwards, to where the sparks formed bright little parachutes, spiralling up into the night, before they burned out, extinguished by the superior power of the stars. 'There's gonna be fires like this in hell,' said Genesis, 'when I get there!"

The above quote sums up this collection for me: little sparks of light spiralling up into the night, punctuating the ennui and emptiness of backwater life in rural or semi-urban isolated New Zealand. That's what these stories are, and why this collection matters to me. The superior power of the stars of best-selling fiction often outshines and extinguishes local voices: library-goers get sucked in by the Jodi Picoults and the Salman Rushdies, and if they even consider fiction from New Zealand, they do so obediently, reaching for well-known titles by Katherine Mansfield or Maurice Gee. It is only because of this that I ever dare venture inside the covers of national anthologies like this one, and as the Short Review's editor will attest, even when I do it takes me a long time to come up for air.

Item ID: 8199
Item Type: Article (Book Review)
Keywords: short fiction; New Zealand
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Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2010 01:51
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200505 New Zealand Literature (excl Maori Literature) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature @ 100%
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