I have never been much of a fan of short stories, I’ve always been a novel reading kind of girl. However I’m about to change my reading habits and all because I picked up a copy of Once upon a time in Aotearoa, by prize winning New Zealand author, Tina Makereti.
My eyes were initially drawn to it because of the stunning cover art, and a quick scan of the blurb on the back jacket convinced me to take it to the issues desk and get it out. On diving between the covers I was immediately pulled into a fascinating and compelling series of stories with a slightly otherwordly feel. The author has drawn inspiration for the stories and characters in this book from traditional stories which many of us will be familiar with, but has given them a modern twist, with her kōrero set in the present day.
Once I began reading I was completely hooked and found myself whipping it out of my bag whenever I had a spare minute, at the bus stop, in the doctor’s waiting room, at morning tea time … I enjoyed all the stories in this book but my two absolute favourites were Ahi and Skin and Bones.
The ease with which I could dip into the book for another delectable offering got me wondering why I have never really read short stories. With the benefit of hindsight, I am attributing the blame for that on the required English School Certificate readings I was subjected to. Anyway, I’ve now discovered a whole new vice I’m going to be sure to indulge in more often. Christchurch City Libraries have over 40 books of short stories written by Māori authors and that is where I am going to start. Next on my list to read is Huia short stories 9, followed by Get on the Waka.
Do you have a favourite short story or collection of short stories that you think is an absolute must read that I could add to my list?