NZ book month -12 and 13 -two Maurice Gee Novels



His best, I feel – and no, neither of them is ‘Plumb’. Much as I loved ‘Plumb’ when I first read it – it was a book I sat up until 1am reading, when I first bought it at the Auckland Uni bookshop – these two are better, I feel.

Both ‘Going West’ and ‘Ellie and the Shadowman‘ have a great sense of place and time. These are always Gee’s strengths but in these two he excels himself.
Here he is on the Wellington winds:

You bend into a southerly and fight back,. Its an honest ind, the true Wellington wind. The northerly comes behind your back and punches you. It pushes you this way and that and puts a knee in your groin.

One reviewer at the time observed that Wellington and Auckland are almost additional characters in ‘Going West’. Gee captures the cities superbly – he does something similar in ‘Ellie’, only with Wellington (again) and Nelson.

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