In a story set in nineteenth-century New Zealand and modern London, Jack Mackenzie, a minister and amateur botanist, arrives in Dunedin, only to be expelled from New Zealand, an event that has profound repercussions for his present-day descendants.
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Nicolette McKenzie's stylish reading and New Zealand accent are delights for listeners. However, though titled, Dunedin, only the first and last chapters of the story take place in New Zealand. The main characters, Olive and William Mackenzie, live in modern South London. The narrator's clear and precise narrative style brings a measure of organization and rhythm to a strangely disjointed tale not quite suited to an audio presentation. Though the flow of the prose and McKenzie's rich, contralto voice are easy to listen to, the story line often becomes confusing, and the inclusion of orphan Jay Pascal adds only more confusion. In this case, if you like Dickensian detail and prose, read the book. S.C.A. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, MaineFrom Kirkus Reviews:
The long consequences of lust and child abuse in distant New Zealand, limned in scenes of dark humor, horror, and unexpected redemptive love by the much gifted British writer Mackay (A Bowl of Cherries, 1992, etc.). With the exception of the first and last chapters, set in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1909 and 1910, respectively, the story takes place in an end-of-history sort of England: specifically, South London--a shabby, menacing place with a ``drainy smell,'' where stores are boarded up, panhandlers are everywhere, and ruined houses, in whose overgrown gardens foxes now live, are occupied by ill-assorted outcasts. When Jack Mackenzie, a reluctant Presbyterian minister, accepts the offer of a position in New Zealand, he is more interested in natural science than in theology. Though married with three children, he is also as much beguiled by the family's half-caste laundress, Myrtile, as the with the exotic flora he finds in his new country. Fast-forward then to the present, as middle-aged Olive and William Mackenzie, children of Jack's son Sandy, a lovable but compulsive con man indelibly warped by his father's cruelty, reluctantly share William's house. Olive, divorced, is recovering from an affair with novelist Terry Turner; William, who gave up his beloved teaching when a student under his supervision was murdered, is equally unhappy. Over a year's time, Olive impulsively steals a baby (William returns it somehow); picks fights with friends; and, alone on holiday, finally acknowledges ``the pain she has caused'' others, and her inadvertent role in her mother's death. William also finds love and peace, but the darkest consequence of distant Dunedin is orphan Jay Pascal, a product of Jack Mackenzie's lust, whose desperate experiences in England, though horrifying in their telling, never quite tie in with the rest. A rich feast to be enjoyed page by page as Mackay, in often dazzling prose, describes the hilarious antics of bibulous writers or, with moving lyricism, those ``surprised by joy.'' -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Vintage, 1999. Book Condition: Good. New Ed. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP79302690
Book Description Vintage. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Minimal damage to cover and binding. Pages show light use. Bookseller Inventory # G0099284197I3N00
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Book Description Vintage 01/07/1999, 1999. Book Condition: Good. This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780099284192
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Book Description Vintage 1999 Paperback, 1999. Book Condition: Good. A Presbyterian minister from Scotland arrives in 19th-century New Zealand with his unhappy wife, and enjoys the botanical and carnal pleasures of Dunedin. His expulsion from this naturalists' paradise has unpleasant consequences for his middle-aged grandchildren decades later. 339 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 189038