Muse by Craig Ranapia

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Muse: SHELF LIFE: "My Memories of Home Will Never Die"

9 Responses

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm so, so pleased for Chris.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Who wouldn't be? Blue Smoke isn't only a damn good read, but a model of how to write and organise a scholarly but unpretentious work of cultural history with a hell of a lot of research lightly worn. Harder than it looks.

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

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Must add it to my towering 'books I must read over the summer' pile. First in line is the fascinating 99 Ways into NZ Poetry.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Cragg,

    This just shuffled even further up my to be read list...

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I have a signed copy of Blue Smoke having been lucky enough to go to one of the launches. It's fascinating and detailed but too heavy for bed time reading. What it did require was a lot (like years) of research and writing time and although, I understand, Chris was lucky to get bits and pieces of subsidised research time (through the National Library and a university), to produce this quality of work takes obsessional dedication over a long time, and acceptance of being poor and/or socially isolated for much of that. So a round about way of saying we need lots more funded opportunities for researcher/writers if we want more New Zealand historical material of this quality. (I'm sure people like Jessie Munro and Redmer Yska would agree.) Rant over.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Tui Hill,

    Books like 'Blue Smoke' are why Kiwis aren't reading much NZ literary fiction (ref Metro and last week's Nine to Noon). Why would you want to keep on plodding through dour miserable stories about dour miserable people when you could be absorbed in well-written stories about fascinating people living interesting lives?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2010 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Tui Hill,

    Books like ‘Blue Smoke’ are why Kiwis aren’t reading much NZ literary fiction (ref Metro and last week’s Nine to Noon).

    Oh, I've got something to say about that. Graham Adams' think-piece in the August issue of North & South article is damn hard to respond to because it's a classic curate's egg. Some fair questions asked, but so much of it is tendentiously argued with some epically dodgy numbers and dubious comparisons being thrown around the whole suffers. I can't even a firm handle on what Adams means by "literary" fiction. Was Elizabeth Knox's The Vintner's Luck "literary" when it was published by a university press, and somehow stop being so when it because a surprising best-seller?

    Why would you want to keep on plodding through dour miserable stories about dour miserable people when you could be absorbed in well-written stories about fascinating people living interesting lives?

    Honestly, I wish all local non-fiction was a well-written and thoroughly engaging as Blue Smoke. It isn't. As for the idea that New Zealand fiction is (to paraphrase Sam Neil) a dour, miserablist literature of unease that nobody wants to read. Pshaw and twaddle.

    Look, I'm a firm adherent of Sturgeon's Law - 90% of everything is crud. A shit book is a shit book, and I'm not interested in any of them.

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

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Tui Hill,

    Books like 'Blue Smoke' are why Kiwis aren't reading much NZ literary fiction.

    Didn't the book win the non-fiction award?

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music 1918-1964 [or, as One News called it, "Blue Smoke: The History of New Zealand Music"].

    Wonderful book. So, so much work. Couldn't find my grandpop in there, but there was a photo of Tiki Roberts, one of his bandleaders.

    Chris well deserves all the success (and I hope his mum is doing okay).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

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