by Bronwyn Elsmore
Good short story writing is a difficult genre but the ease the reader has with these stories shows the author Bronwyn Elsmore has captured and corralled that genre.
Thirty-two stories divided into decades give this collection an attractive style. There is an introduction to each decade so the reader is well located in the era each story is set.
These are our stories. These are narratives which underscore our culture; give pictures of who we are or perhaps who we would like to be. We are New Zealanders. We are the South Pacific. Our connection to the stories is strong.
Elsmore is good at encouraging your own imagination to meld with the story, and like all good story tellers at the end we are left wondering ‘what next’? She is clever at leading the reader along to assume a conclusion and then introduce a twist at the end.
Unlike the sin of having a favourite child I think it is perfectly usual to find a story that becomes a favourite. For me it was “Last Night I dreamt I was Kate Sheppard”. This story is skilful, tightly written, with a witty strand of humour.
Many of these stories have been in print, several have been prize winners and rightly so. Some have been read on Radio NZ so it is a joy to have them now in a collection to read and re-read.