Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A great issue

The latest issue of New Zealand Books, the summer one, is
a cracker. There’s a fine review by Mark Derby of Nga
Tama
Toa, a book about the Ngati Porou company of the
Maori Battalion, and Derby’s own book Kiwi Compañeros:
New
Zealand and the Spanish Civil War gets an equally
good review by David Grant. David Colquhoun writes very
well about James McNeish’s mythologizing of Jack
Lovelock, and Tony Simpson and Tom Brooking give us
excellent reviews of the latest James Belich and Anne
Salmond books respectively. Nelson Wattie contributes not
only an obituary of Alistair Campbell, as you would expect
of one who is writing his biography, but also a speculative
column on why the Centre for New Zealand Studies in
London has collapsed. I was also charmed by Paula Boock’s
thoughts on the differences between novel-writing and
television script-writing, though dismayed, like Damien
Wilkins, by her preference for the Courier font when
working. I guess it takes all types. But the standout piece in
this issue is Roger Robinson’s review of Maurice Gee’s
latest (and, it seems, last) novel, Access Road. It is in fact a
major essay on all of Gee's fiction, and what a wonderful
tribute it is too, beautifully written, subtle, poetic, knowing,
like a Gee novel in miniature itself. This is review-writing of
the highest order, and an absolute honour to our best living
novelist.

2 comments:

harvey molloy said...

Interesting post, Denis. What font do you use when you send your work to an editor? I was advised many years by Harry Ricketts that Courier was a good safe font and have, aside from the odd wild fling with Garamond, stuck with Courier unless I've been specified a font by a press. It has a good no nonsense look about it. What do you use? And happy new year.

Denis Welch said...

Thanks, Harvey. I use Georgia for virtually everything: I find it clean, clear and graceful. For sans faces I quite like Tahoma and Verdana, and headings look good to me in Albertus MT.