Tuesday, August 23, 2016

All Day at the Movies - a fine novel from Fiona Kidman

Vintage - $38.00

In an exceptionally fruitful year for one of our most beloved writers, Dame Fiona Kidman has produced a wonderful collection of poems, published in April this year, and now a superb novel. Both explore and celebrate family relationships, each looking back and also around at the world we live in.

Wry, moving, beautifully observed and politically astute, All Day at the Movies is the latest work from Dame Fiona. In it, one of our finest chroniclers pinpoints universal truths through very New Zealand lives. She draws a vivid and moving portrait of a fractured New Zealand family, set against a backdrop of our recent post-war history and events that have shaped the country; and in turn shaped the family and, in particular, women’s lives.

Life isn’t always like it appears in the movies. In 1952, Irene Sandle takes her young daughter to Motueka. Irene was widowed during the war and is seeking a new start and employment in the tobacco fields. There, she finds the reality of her life far removed from the glamour of the screen. Can there be romance and happy endings, or will circumstances repeat through the generations?

Long celebrated for bringing women’s stories to the fore, Dame Fiona in her new novel captures the different and changing attitudes and lifestyles that women face. We see her characters’ choices limited partly by the era they were born into but also by what cards life deals them. Hard beginnings are seen to have repercussions that are difficult to escape.

FIONA KIDMAN has published over 30 books, including novels, poetry, non-fiction and a play. She has worked as a librarian, creative writing teacher, radio producer and critic, and as a scriptwriter for radio, television and film, but primarily as a writer. S
he has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships; in more recent years The Captive Wife was runner-up for the Deutz Medal for Fiction and was joint-winner of the Readers' Choice Award in the 2006 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and her short story collection The Trouble With Fire was shortlisted for both the NZ Post Book Awards and the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. She was created a Dame (DNZM) in 1998 in recognition of her contribution to literature, and more recently a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. ‘We cannot talk about writing in New Zealand without acknowledging her,' wrote New Zealand Books. ‘Kidman's accessible prose and the way she shows (mainly) women grappling to escape from restricting social pressures has guaranteed her a permanent place in our fiction.'

Fiona Kidman photo by Robert Cross

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