Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: For the (broken) record

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  • Jolisa,

    Possibly they struck a chord because they are both written about the area I grew up in. Not at all sure what the 'popular opinion' is on Maurice Shadbolt, but [Season of the Jew] spoke volumes to me.

    I've been meaning to reread that one. I read it in Japan and remember finishing it with tears pouring over the pages. No book had done that to me since Charlotte's Web, and I certainly didn't expect that one to. But it did.

    'Novel about my wife' is another fantastic recent NZ novel set in contemporary times

    Brilliantly written and impossible to put down. Although, and I think I said this in a review at the time, the relentless misanthropy got to me after a while, and the "reveal" struck me as both too lurid and too tame. But yes, excellent novel of modern manners.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Philipmatthews' LUQs from the other thread, by the way:

    My own LUQ:

    -- How many unshipped warehouse copies were there for Witi to buy back?
    -- How many copies were returned to Penguin by bookstores?

    Given that the novel has been a bestseller week after week, my hunch -- and it's just a hunch -- is few in both cases. After all, why would a bookstore willingly return one of their bestselling items?

    One other LUQ:

    -- How many people will want to buy the book a second time? I doubt there are many desperate Witi readers holding off until the newer, better version is published.

    The whole episode still feels shabby and unresolved to me -- not dissimilar, in a funny way, to Niki Caro and Joan Scheckel's unsatisfying explanations of their mangling of The Vintner's Luck in their recent film. In both cases, a sense that we'll know more in the fullness of time but best to put it behind us now.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I've been meaning to reread that one. I read it in Japan and remember finishing it with tears pouring over the pages. No book had done that to me since Charlotte's Web, and I certainly didn't expect that one to. But it did.

    Yes. The helplessness conveyed in the court seen towards the end is one of the more gut wrenching bits of fiction I can recall. It would make a great film, but then only if a great film was made of it, which, as it turns out, is not guaranteed.

    Although I quite liked Peter Jackson's comments about the respective roles of the film-maker and the author in respect to The Lovely Bones, even if I sensed a 'hidden' message there.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    ...would be as good an example of writing about what you don't know as you could get.

    I think that's the point. Vintner's Luck = unexpected = good. Novels by and about 20-something BA grads... a little bit meh.
    But I was merely passing on received wisdom - I know stuff-all about NZ lit and I bet all those (I assume there were a bunch?) BA-chick novels will be fascinating in another 20 years time. Like ads for stubbies or something.

    Personally I am very much looking forward to Jolisa's novel (is she 20 yet?) about the overworked grad assistant who stumbles across a blatant case of plagiarism by a Famous Author, and then has to stay one step ahead of the author' evil henchmen, the sinister and shadowy publisher, gutter-press journos, rival authors, the Writer's Union, university PR hacks and conspiracy theorists, all while musing on the nature of creativity in a post-modern world and responsibilities to readers, writers, Art and self.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Ha, Stephen. I feel like I just wrote it. Skipping straight to the screenplay now.

    Definitely not 20, uh, "yet". I think I'm running out of time to be a child prodigy (thank goodness I didn't publish any of those 20-something mumblings). Am aiming to be a spectacular late-bloomer instead.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jess S,

    Although I quite liked Peter Jackson's comments about the respective roles of the film-maker and the author in respect to The Lovely Bones, even if I sensed a 'hidden' message there.'

    Hmmm, I have pretty low expectations of the film, which is not surprising considering I didn't think much of the book. I think conveying 'life after death' or 'the other side' is always tricky. So hard to get away from cliched, mawkish fields of flowers representing heaven, yet still retaining our collective sense of 'heaven = good, hell = bad' (as in 'What dreams may come', in fact I think the only 'dead person' film I've remotely enjoyed was 'Truly, Madly, Deeply'....)

    Which I think was my issue with 'The Angel's Cut' as well. I'm all for concepts of heaven and hell being re-interpreted... but hell as a library? that seems to be re-interpreting to the point of meaningless

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    but hell as a library? that seems to be re-interpreting to the point of meaningless

    Does. Not. Compute.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Hell is a disorganized library.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I have pretty low expectations of the film, which is not surprising considering I didn't think much of the book.

    I confess I haven't read it. Too much on the pile already. Ben Elton's Meltdown at the moment. Then I'm off into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. That's a bit off topic, but relevant in that I want to read it before the film hype gets the better of me.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    A thought.

    Given we have voted on the "Word of the year', and in light of the literary prowess of the PA writers, and the erudite contributions of the discussion bunnies (Hahemmm!)(Timaru), what about a 'Book of the year' vote? In general I find it quite difficult to find people to talk about books, and this thread has reminded me how much I enjoy it.

    Someone mentioned a 'bookish' forum starting. Maybe the 'Book of the year' could launch it?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Sounds good. I'm aiming to post a proper booky post tomorrow... a palate-cleanser, as it were.

    I'm a bit of a pluralist though - Books of the Year sounds good to me. I can never have just one :-)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I'm a bit of a pluralist though - Books of the Year sounds good to me. I can never have just one :-)

    Agreed. I find pluralism is essential where books are concerned. You'd end up in a 'genre crisis' for a start.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Hell is a disorganized library.

    No, hell is a library *conference*.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    No, hell is a library *conference*

    No, hell is having to read a history of the New Zealand Library Association (it used to be a requirement for the NZLA Prelim Certificate)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Hell is a disorganized library

    Hell, no! Because then you've got *something to do* for eternity.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    A great post - one I needed because I've been feeling sad about Witi Ihimaera: "Big Brother Little Sister"; "The Makutu on Mrs Jones". Not keen on his novels ...Same as my feeling about Patricia Grace I'm afraid to say.

    I've just bought Fiona Farrell's "Limestone" for a friend for Xmas. (I'm going to read it first.)

    Please give us your best books of 2009 and slip in something about the Man Booker shortlist if you can. I love J M Coetzee and Sarah Waters. Polar opposites but true to their own style.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Rachaelking,

    Am aiming to be a spectacular late-bloomer instead.

    Kim Hill told me I was old to publishing my first novel. I was 35 (just).

    Since Nov 2009 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Shit Rachaelking - I was 37!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    For my own literary procrastination, I'm constantly inspired that Harland "Colonel" Sanders used his first pension cheque at age 65 to start up KFC.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Rachaelking,

    I do have one LUQ, which is why was he in such a hurry to write this novel? Four months for research and first draft! A few more to finish! What's the hurry? Maybe I'll ask him myself one day...

    Since Nov 2009 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Fergus Barrowman,

    Ford Madox Ford said no one should even attempt to write a novel until they were forty. And then wrote one of the great books of the 20th century to prove his point.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2009 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Well, "The Good Soldier" is a very good book, but not equivalent, I think, to "All Quiet on the Western Front"... I spent quite a period of my youth reading history, biography (paticularly of participant solders/nurses/non-combatant animal handlers) and civilian recollections of that war, and Ford isnt, for me, stellar.

    How many other *novelists* wrote their first novels in their 40s Fergus?

    I'm just interested, not combative - and really not all that interested. Otherwise, I would've looked it up.

    Tomorrow, I shall go & see "Avatar,"

    First, that I will be able to see it:
    second, because it is.

    These are matters of much more moment in my life.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Fergus Barrowman,

    I don't remember The Good Soldier as having anything to do with war; I think I understood the title to be metaphorical. But I should read it again, it's been years. I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now, as the song goes.

    But really I don't think there are any rules at all about this sort of thing, except for what works.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2009 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    "except fpr what works"

    -not wrong there mate-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    To that end, and with a view to learning lessons and moving forward, sitcom-style, I offer a LUQ. As in, Lingering Unanswered Questions (it’s like a FAQ, but luqier… for some). With seasonal trimmings. Feel free to contribute your own.

    You asked for it...

    LUQ: If the New Zealand division of the largest publishing groups on Earth can't -- or won't -- invest time, money and care in basic editing of (arguably) it's highest profile author, are there other plagiarists on the Penguin list? And if there are, does anyone at Penguin give a shit?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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