Friday, July 21, 2017

A Strange Beautiful Excitement


How does a city make a writer? Described by Fiona Kidman as a ‘ravishing, immersing read’,
A Strange Beautiful Excitement is a ‘wild ride’ through the Wellington of Katherine Mansfield’s childhood.
From the grubby, wind-blasted streets of Thorndon to the hushed green valley of Karori, author
Redmer Yska, himself raised in Karori, retraces Mansfield’s old ground: the sights, sounds and smells
of the rickety colonial capital, as experienced by the budding writer.
Along the way his encounters and dogged research – into her Beauchamp ancestry, the social
landscape, the festering, deadly surroundings – lead him (and us) to re-evaluate long-held conclusions about
the writer’s shaping years. They also lead to a thrilling discovery.
This haunting and beautifully vivid book combines fact and fiction, biography and memoir, as
Yska rediscovers Mansfield’s Wellington, unearthing her childhood as he goes, shining a new lamp on old territory.
It’s not enough to say I immensely enjoyed A Strange Beautiful Excitement... it’s simply splendid.
– Dame Fiona Kidman
...the best account I have ever read of Wellington and Karori as they were in Mansfield’s day ... Vivid
and vigorous, it is a pleasure to read. – Kathleen Jones, KM biographer


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