This Mortal Boy

This Mortal Boy

This Mortal Boy

An utterly compelling recreation of the events that led to one of the last executions in New Zealand. Albert Black, known as the 'jukebox killer', was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society's reaction to outsiders? Black's final words, as the hangman covered his head, were, 'I wish you all a merry Christmas, gentlemen, and a prosperous New Year.' This is his story. 'A beautiful writer' - The Times Winner of the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, the NZ Booklovers Award and the NZSA Heritage Book Award for Fiction.

At the End of Darwin Road

At the End of Darwin Road

At the End of Darwin Road

An evocative memoir about the emergence of a pre-eminent writer in a changing world 'What I have to tell is largely a personal narrative about how I came to inhabit a fictional world' This absorbing memoir explores the first half of writer Fiona Kidman's life, notably in Kerikeri amid the 'sharp citric scent of orange groves, bright heat and . . . the shadow of Asia' - at the end of Darwin Road. From the distance of France, where Kidman spent time as the Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton, she reconsiders the past, weaving personal reflection and experience with the history of the places where she lived, particularly the fascinating northern settlements of Kerikeri and Waipu, and further south the cities of Rotorua and Wellington. Her story crosses paths with those of numerous different New Zealanders, from the Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana, to descendants of the migration from Scotland led by a charismatic Presbyterian minister, to other writers and significant friends. We learn of Kidman's struggles to establish herself as a writer and to become part of different communities, and how each worked their way into her fiction. At the End of Darwin Road is a vivid memoir of place and family, and of becoming a writer: 'I was certain that . . . I would continue to write, if possible, every day of my life.'

All the Way to Summer

All the Way to Summer

All the Way to Summer

A powerful collection of stories exploring love and longing from the award-winning author of This Mortal Boy. Fiona Kidman's early stories about New Zealand women's experiences scandalised readers with their vivid depictions of the heartbreaks and joys of desire, illicit liaisons and unconventional love. Her writing made her a feminist icon in the early 1980s, and she has since continued to tell the realities of women's lives, her books resonating with many readers over the years and across the world. To mark her 80th birthday, this volume brings together a variety of her previously published stories as well as several that are new or previously uncollected; all moving, insightful and written with love. The final stories trace her own history of love, a memoir of significant people from childhood and beyond.

The House Within

The House Within

The House Within

A novel of linked stories about a woman's search for identity beyond family ties, expectations and demands. Bethany Dixon is at the centre of a complex network of relationships. She is mother and stepmother, wife and ex, daughter-in-law, sister and lover. Earthy, generous, addicted to children and food, Bethany has yet to establish her place in the world. Peter, who has loved and left her, still perceives her as the central drama of his life. In fragments and snapshots, Bethany, Peter and their children see their lives revealed as twenty-five years pass in the blink of a shutter. They discover their separate identities from unlikely sources.

Ricochet Baby

Ricochet Baby

Ricochet Baby

A moving novel, with intelligent and compassionate insight into post-natal depression and the complexities of relationships. 'When Roberta falls pregnant her whole family is filled with joy.' Fallen is not exactly how Roberta would describe it, for she and Paul have planned the baby and it has been conceived at exactly the time that they chose. But the birth itself is not as anyone chooses and the circles that radiate from this crisis affect everyone involved and change Roberta's life, in particular, for ever. 'In her craft of her storytelling and in her compassionate gutsy tough expression of female experience, she is the best we have.' - NZ Listener

The Book of Secrets

The Book of Secrets

The Book of Secrets

A classic, prize-winning novel about an epic migration and a lone woman haunted by the past in frontier Waipu. In the 1850s, a group of settlers established a community at Waipu in the northern part of New Zealand. They were led there by a stern preacher, Norman McLeod. The community had followed him from Scotland in 1817 to found a settlement in Nova Scotia, then subsequently to New Zealand via Australia. Their incredible journeys actually happened, and in this winner of the New Zealand Book Awards, Fiona Kidman breathes life and contemporary relevance into the facts by creating a remarkable fictional story of three women entangled in the migrations - Isabella, her daughter Annie and granddaughter Maria. McLeod's harsh leadership meant that anyone who ran counter to him had to live a life of secrets. The 'secrets' encapsulated the spirit of these women in their varied reactions to McLeod's strict edicts and connect the past to the present and future. First published in 1987, this book has been in print ever since - a continual classic and perennial favourite.

The Infinite Air

The Infinite Air

The Infinite Air

A superbly written novel offering an intriguing interpretation of one of the world’s greatest aviators, the glamorous and mysterious Jean Batten. Jean Batten became an international icon in the 1930s. A brave, beautiful woman, she made a number of heroic solo flights across the world. The newspapers couldn’t get enough of her; and yet she suddenly slipped out of view, disappearing to the Caribbean with her mother and dying in obscurity in Majorca, buried in a pauper’s grave. Fiona Kidman’s enthralling novel delves into the life of this enigmatic woman, probing mysteries and crafting a fascinating exploration of early flying, of mothers and daughters, and of fame and secrecy.

Where Your Left Hand Rests

Where Your Left Hand Rests

Where Your Left Hand Rests

It's been 35 years since Dame Fiona Kidman's first book of poems was published, and now she is back with another, perfectly timed for her 70th birthday in March 2010. There has been renewed interest in her poetry since the recent publication of her memoirs, and this exquisitely packaged collection will not disappoint.

The Captive Wife

The Captive Wife

The Captive Wife

Based on real events, this prize-winning novel is the compelling story of a marriage, of love and duty, and the quest for freedom in a pioneering age. When Betty Guard steps ashore in Sydney, in 1834, she meets with a heroine's welcome. Her survival during a four-month kidnapping ordeal amongst Taranaki Maori is hailed as nothing short of a miracle. But questions about what really happened slowly surface within the élite governing circles of the raw new town of Sydney. Jacky Guard, ex-convict turned whaler, had taken Betty as his wife to his New Zealand whaling station when she was fourteen. After several years and two children, the family is returning from a visit to Sydney when their barque is wrecked near Mount Taranaki. A battle with local Maori follows, and Betty and her children are captured. Her husband goes to seek a ransom, but instead England engages in its first armed conflict with New Zealand Maori when he is persuaded to return with two naval ships. After her violent rescue, Betty's life amongst the tribe comes under intense scrutiny.

All Day at the Movies

All Day at the Movies

All Day at the Movies

Wry, moving, beautifully observed and politically astute, this novel from one of our finest chroniclers pinpoints universal truths through very New Zealand lives. Life isn’t always like it appears in the movies. In 1952, Irene Sandle takes her young daughter to Motueka. Irene was widowed during the war and is seeking a new start and employment in the tobacco fields. There, she finds the reality of her life far removed from the glamour of the screen. Can there be romance and happy endings, or will circumstances repeat through the generations? Each subsequent episode in this poignant work follows family secrets and the dynamics of Irene’s children. The story doesn’t just track their lives, but also New Zealand itself as its attitudes and opportunities change — and reverberate — through the decades. '. . . she is at a literary point when age is all gain – consummate craft, passion aplenty, the complex resonance of memory, and the edginess that comes from knowing about loss' – New Zealand Books Winner of the Heritage Book Awards, Fiction Category