Monday, August 07, 2017


A battered first edition of John Mulgan’s classic 1939 New Zealand novel Man Alone will be attending the launch of its sequel, Johnson, in Auckland this Sunday.

“Spine cloth torn along entire length of rear joint, cloth frayed at head and tail of spine, cloth boards rubbed with staining, hinges broken, lacking front free endpaper and half title page, heavy foxing”— it’s nevertheless still alive.

Few Man Alone first editions survived a war-time bombing of publisher Selwyn & Blount’s warehouse in London, but this one made it to New Zealand where it appeared on the shelves of the Devonport Lending Library.

From there it made its way to that home of second-hand bookshops, Dunedin, and finally back up to Auckland into the hands of Auckland writer Dean Parker.

Parker has written the sequel to Man Alone which is being launched this Sunday August 13 at the Thirsty Dog on K Rd, 5.30-8.00pm.

Johnson, solitary hero of Man Alone, stumbles out of the Depression and the Kaimanawas to fight in the Spanish Civil War, then behind German lines in Greece in WWII (and a meeting with Mulgan), then on into NZ’s ferocious industrial war of the late 1940s.

Alongside the story of Johnson is another—that of Hilary York and her journey from Wellington to London, Athens, Cairo, then back to Wellington; from the British diplomatic corps to the NZ Communist Party and out into the arms of Johnson.

Sunday’s grand launch will feature jazz trio Linn Lorkin & the Men Alone, scrambling on down from the Kaimanawas.

They’ll be playing standards from the 30s, 40s and 50s: Red River Valley, Heart and Soul, Which Side Are You On, Blue Eyes Crying, September Song, Night and Day, Bill Bailey, Lili Marlene, Sheik of Araby... and more.
The bar will be humming and the Man Alone first edition will sit there with a pint.

Johnson is being published by Steele Roberts.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a line-up of songs! Place'll be packed!