Book Reviews by Jo Taylor
Season of Salt and Honey
Daniel, a young man of mixed Maori and European parentage, has been raised overseas. At twenty-one he is uncertain of his future and, when it appears he might be heading for trouble, his mother sends him to New Zealand to help his grandmother. Daniel arrives in a small North Island community, knowing little of the Maori side of his family, to live and work with his grandmother, Oriwia. He soon meets Aki, Oriwia’s childhood sweetheart, and learns about his own Japanese grandfather Chappy. Aki worked as a merchant seaman before the Second World War and discovered Chappy as a stowaway onboard his vessel. Instead of turning him in to the authorities, he bought Chappy home on the next shore leave. Day by day, the story of Oriwia and her Japanese husband, Aki and his Hawaiian wife and their intertwined lives emerges. Chappy is Patrica Grace’s first novel in 10 years. It is a gentle novel, a picture of times that were both simpler and more complicated. RM
Moses Sweetland is 70 years old and has lived all of his life on Sweetland, a remote fishing island off the coast of Newfoundland. With the fish gone, and the provision of modern services to the island increasingly expensive, the government offers the residents of Sweetland a generous compensation package to resettle to the mainland. The offer is contingent on everyone agreeing to go and everyone agrees – except Moses. Moses’ one trip off the island, years ago as a young man, was not a success. And he is concerned that his young nephew will not be happy away from the island where he is known and accepted for who he is. Although Sweetland wants to support his friends and family in light of this opportunity, he knows he must remain on the island. Alone he battles the winter weather and the ghosts of his past. Sweetland is a rare combination of funny and tragic. RM
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