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I thoroughly enjoyed Martin Edmond’s wonderfully descriptive memoir. With a style and pacing that draws the reader in and envelops them in a New Zealand that had a type of insularity all of its own, Edmonds telling of his early years is a treat and while not all wine and roses, it is a life that would resonate with many.
The son of teachers, Edmond knew the vagaries of moving town, shifting house and losing people in a time when we were ruled by the motherland, where life could be harsh and every town was governed by a set of unwritten expectations, where position mattered and narrow-mindedness could make life hell. The awareness that there were undercurrents of discord in his home and his difficult relationship with his mother kept Edmond precariously balanced, as he struggled through those rights-of-passage experiences and strived to find out exactly who he was. The great thing is there is not a jot of whinging, it is what is and we get on with it.
Edmond is without doubt an extremely talented writer, and he uses a delightful array of language to tell his tale, his humour even as a youngster shines through…a put-together bike is called an anthology of a bike. In many ways the book encapsulates the best of growing up in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in New Zealand. It shines a light on a time now past, but fondly remembered by so many of us.
This book would make an excellent gift, especially for someone who grew up in the book’s timeframe. It’s easy to read, very memory-inducing but never trite. A great read.
Reviewed by Marion Dreadon
The Dreaming Land
by Martin Edmond
Published by Bridget Williams Books