Sunday, June 28, 2015
A must-read novel about love, hard work, sacrifice and old fashioned Kiwi baking.
Nicky Pellegrino writing in the Herald on Sunday 28 June 2015 and I must say I totally agree with her, a wonderful novel..
by Patricia Grace
$38.00 Penguin Random House)
There is a real purity to Patricia Grace’s fiction. She may be New Zealand literary royalty but her writing is not about showing off her finery. Chappy is her first novel in a decade, a heartfelt, spirited tale and an absolute joy to read.
Troubled 21-year-old Daniel is sent from Europe back to New Zealand to stay with his grandmother Oriwia. He spends his time piecing together the life story of his mysterious Japanese grandfather, Chappy, coaxing memories from Oriwia, and from Aki, his uncle by double adoption.
Although the story is centred on him, Chappy remains its most elusive figure and the trials of the indomitable Oriwia and the travels of big-hearted Aki are what dominate. It’s a huge story in some ways, taking us from New Zealand to Hawaii and Tokyo, and through wartime, but it’s in its smallness that Chappy is most beautiful.
In the sections narrated by Daniel himself Grace doesn’t do much of a job of nailing an authentic 21-year-old’s voice but then I don’t think she’s even trying to - her style is timeless.
This is a must-read novel about love, hard work, sacrifice and old fashioned Kiwi baking.