I loved Rodney's book. Have you ever read a book where you don't want the writer to move on? I didn't get enough about the long days spent working with his father on the trucks in and around the Canterbury Plains or backwards and forwards to the West Coast. It was another time. For anyone of my generation or older a deep sense of nostalgia develops for a New Zealand we won't see again. (Of course there are plenty of aspects we should be glad to see the back of but not in this book). Remember how you felt after watching the Fastest Indian and that's what the early stories evoke. I didn't want Rodney to leave New Zealand to go travelling because I couldn't possibly be as interested in life on an oil rig or in India or in Parliament in the same way. I needn't have worried. I kept turning the pages fascinated, repelled, frustrated, entertained, enlightened. It's a read that just keeps a hold of you.
An admission. When I'd initially read the extract in the Sunday Star Times I said to myself, "Oh my good Lord. What has he written". It almost felt Mills and Boonish. The struggles in the arms of the beautiful Krystal culminating in a bittersweet ending, turned triumphal. Yikes!
The problem is simply the chapter needs to be read as part of the entirety.
One day I will learn to trust Rodney. He knows what he is doing and where he is going. There's a fine line underfoot when someone decides to expose their life to the public. Auto-biographies risk a level of self-indulgence that can turn the reader off. Whether by intention or accident Rodney stayed firmly on that fine line. As I said, this is a book you get to the end of wanting more.
A film maybe?
1901 map of Papua New Guinea
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