Monday, August 20, 2007


David Ling Publishers $30

I have long admired Ian Cross from afar, I guess because of his 1957 novel The God Boy, now widely regarded as a modern classic, because of his editorship of the Listener, for the work he did on the establishment of the New Zealand authors’ fund and for his TV programme Column Comment all those years ago.

He has been a significant contributor to our cultural life.

And so I was delighted to come across his just-published memoir.

Especially interesting for me was the background he provides about the writing of The God Boy and also how the book came to be first published by Harcourt Brace in the US and Andre Deutsch in the UK. Remember these were in the days when very few NZ writers were ever published outside their home country. Later (1973) it was published by Whitcomb & Tombs and these days it is in the Penguin Modern Classics series. It has also been made into a play and an opera. Quite a story.

There is a lot more in this memoir than The God Boy story of course especially about his early life and his international ramblings,(some of these quite remarkable), his involvement in that great TV programme Column Comment and later about his time as Chairman of Broadcasting and the 1981 Springbok Tour.
But there is precious little about his life over the past 25 years. What has he been doing? Another volume please Ian!
Pic at left - A media critic and the television camera, and above right the Harcourt Brace cover of The God Boy . Both from the interesting photographs
within Such Absolute Beginners.

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