The New Land: A Picture Book

Bill Manhire, Author
Bill Manhire, Author Heinemann Educational Books $9.95 (120p) ISBN 978-0-7900-0107-4
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Known chiefly as a poet in his native New Zealand, Manhire presents nine witty stories that resonate with the pulse and impulse of contemporary middle-class experience in that country. He aims his most deadly shots at the pretenses of academia and the writing orbit; his salvo ``Some Questions I Am Frequently Asked'' takes the form of a tongue-in-cheek interview with a self-involved author working on a trite novel. Though a rill of cool cynicism runs through the collection, there are moments of emotion and poetic imagery that linger in the mind, as in the last lines of the nostalgic family portrait called ``The Days of Sail'': ``This is a dream. At any moment I may wake. Clouds pour across the sky and my lungs fill with air as though they might be sails.'' The book's most impressive story, ``South Pacific,'' is an understated, delicate tale of small connections made and larger connections lost in the sad world of human attachments. Manhire succeeds as a stylist by conveying sentiment without sentimentality and by portraying banal doings without falling into banality. ( June )
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