Some may feel I have exceeded my Don McGlashan mentions for the year and now it’s just getting creepy but surely anyone who has a ticket to one of his sold-out shows at the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts is entitled to a bit of a gloat. Or a lot of a gloat. So gloat gloat gloat.
The New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week 15 event Concession Pass is a good deal but it does mean I’m seeing a lot of people I haven’t read. Still, Arts Festivals are not about sticking with what you know you like, they’re about finding new things to like. Or loathe, so you can feel superior to fellow festival-goers who were impressed by some crashing bore you saw through immediately.
In the already like category:
- Chloe Hooper. The tall man is one of those books read with a mounting sense of horror but a fierce desire to know what happens next. It is the story of Cameron Domagee, who died in police custody on Palm Island, one of Australia’s biggest remote Aboriginal communities. Hooper manages to get far beyond the bald facts of the news story to the reality of the lives endured in this place “15 minutes from the mainland…in a Third World part of the country”.
- Audrey Niffenegger. On a far more superficial level I’ll be restraining myself from coming over all Joan Rivers when she was still allowed on the Red Carpet and shouting ‘who are you wearing’ at that fabulous red-head (if she still is one) . Her fearful symmetry contains the immortal line” How can you be bored? You live in London! You’re breathing the same air as the Queen and Vivienne Westwood!” Do Her Majesty and Viv occupy the same level in the Niffenegger pantheon? Does she consider the novel to be deeply immoral, as a Christchurch City Libraries colleague does? Should these questions be asked if the opportunity arises?
- Susanna Moore. The festival programme talks about the women in Moore’s novel’s negotiating “twilight worlds of sex and identity”. In the cut and The big girls were very sexual and more dead of night than twilight. It’s really difficult but fascinating to imagine what Moore will be like in the flesh.
- Charlotte Grimshaw. Always provides a nice little shiver when anticipating just how prickly she might be.
- Emily Perkins. Where does she store her internal organs in that tiny frame?