Book Review: East, by Peri Hoskins

Available at selected bookshops nationwide.

cv_eastThis is the second book by Peri Hoskins featuring the character Vince Osborne, a suburban lawyer who has the feeling life is leaving him behind. Disillusioned with representing petty criminals, he chucks in his job and decides to go on a road trip.  A journey to reconnect with who he is and what he should be doing with his life.

Vince drives back to the city, visiting old friends and haunts from his university days, before setting off.  He bunks down with a friend of a friend to make a plan.  He sorts out supplies, getting his car fitted with an LPG tank but leaving the petrol tank in place, realising that not every small town will have an LPG supply.  There is an easy familiarity, as he slots back into old friendships before heading east to begin his journey, writing a journal along the way.

He starts off picking up hitchhikers, to break the monotony of the barren countryside. Each town/city changes, as does the accommodation available, but somehow, they all seem to merge. The only changing detail is the people he meets along the way as he makes small talk with staff and fellow travelers at the various places he stays. Some just drifting from one place to another.  He starts to wind down and get into the zone.

Old mining towns with hardened characters that seem to always go with hard places: this is a journey of self-discovery for Vince.  He applies for a job in one of the gold mines – hard, hard, physical work but one where he finds satisfaction.

At first I thought – oh hell, another one of “those books” where it just goes nowhere, but how wrong I was.  This is a book that ended up even questioning my own life and where I was heading – how I could change the mundane into something a lot more exciting. As Vince discovers, dreams aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

East
by Peri Hoskins
Tane Kaha Publications
ISBN 9780473251284

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Book Review: Millennium – A memoir, by Peri Hoskins

cv_millenniumAvailable online and via selected bookstores. 

Peri Hoskins is a NZ author who lives in Northland, where he works as a barrister-at-law.

In 1999 with the new millennium nearly upon us, Tonga is to be the first in the world to see the new age in by putting its clock forwards an hour or maybe two − a clever ploy to pull in the tourists. Vince Osborne (the narrator of this story), barrister, living in Adelaide travels by Royal Tongan Airlines to Tonga to spend time with his primary school mate Sykes. They had last seen each other in 1994 in their old home town. Sykes has since left to move to Tonga and has bought an old run-down backpackers lodge, catering to young travellers. Beyond the backpackers, Sykes other interest is seeing how many birds he can “pull”. He has plenty of choice, with cruise ships visiting, young bored Tongan girls, and young tourists breaking their OE’s with a break in Tonga.

This is Vince’s first journey since breaking up with his long-time girlfriend Angelina, leaving his job at a big law firm, and starting out on his own. He steps off the plane with a generous supply of alcohol and cigars from duty free – champagne, brandy, whiskey, red wine and, of course, cigars.

Millennium is a journey though many human exchanges – quirky, funny and sad –accompanied by quotes from Hindu scripture.

According to the author’s notes, this is a work of creative non-fiction. In essence it is true, but contains fictional elements. The characters are of his own creation, often containing elements of several people. Also locations and names of people or businesses have been changed. I almost expected to see in writing “nobody was hurt or killed in the making or writing of this story”. I daresay friends of the author will recognise themselves in these characterisations.

I was really surprised how much I enjoyed reading this rather thin book – one of the smallest I’ve read for a while. The descriptions of some of the characters are rather brutal at times and I sometimes wondered how Peri managed to keep a straight face and fingers (typing) while writing this story. I loved the quotes from Hindu scripture – they seemed rather appropriate and pertained to the particular subject of the chapter they headed.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Millennium – A Memoir
by Peri Hoskins
Published by Tane Kaha Publications
ISBN 9780473251314