Book Review: Going to Extremes, by Derek Grzelewski

cv_going_to_extremesAvailable now in bookstores nationwide.

Going to Extremes takes you on a journey through ten of New Zealand’s great adventures in this century and last. Each chapter tells you about a different story, the people involved, issues that affect the area now, what the impacts have been, and providing a real heartland view of some of this country’s less well-known adventures.

The book does a great job of hitting on what fascinates explorers in the way it describes the horrors and the delights of dangerous and challenging environments. The writer is good at taking you into these situations; putting you down in the dark of the cave, “For the next five days we lived in the cave…and every morning I shook out my overalls and gumboots to shoo out local cave spiders as big as the palm of your hand. Every night we came back, tired and dirty like miners after a long shift, to sleep under the false firmament of low-worms, lullabied by the roar of an underground river. This mud was…the primordial ooze that threatens to swallow you whole”.

The armchair reader is unceremoniously dropped into these caves, taken on board the sinking of the Mikhail Lermontov, buried under an avalanche and dragged for days without food in 1864 through wintery back-country Fiordland with a desperate gold rush prospector.

The stories are all great historical New Zealand tales that deserve to be told time and time again, to remind us of the amazing rugged country we live in and the adventurers in all centuries who have been drawn here. The writing veers distractingly in different directions at times, but you can appreciate the attempts to paint a wider picture of the story.

by Amie Lightbourne

Going to Extremes
by Derek Grzelewski
Published by David Bateman Ltd
ISBN 9781869538262

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