‘Many of the books entered in the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards challenged the judges by stretching the boundaries of conventional categories,’ says Dr Paul Millar, Convenor of Judges for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
Taking its inspiration from Aubrey’s classic work of the same name, Brief Lives is an eccentric collection of biographical essays and fictional reflections in which famous figures such as Goethe, Petrarch and Antonin Artaud rub shoulders with impecunious aristocrats, actors and art historians as well as a range of fictional characters caught amid the daily chaos of their lives. It is a meditation on mortality and the tasks of recording, collection and recollection we quixotically undertake to stave it off.
Brief Lives is a genre-crossing work that makes a plea for what historian Simon Schama has called ‘the eloquence of peculiarity’.
Brief Lives features some illustrations by artist Brendan O’Brien. The cover designer is Sarah Maxey of Wellington and the internal designer is AUP’s Katrina Duncan.
Photo of Chris Price from the Victoria University of Wellington website.