by Pamella Laird
The author, retired nurse and former hospice volunteer, donates 50% of proceeds from the sale of this book to three North Shore hospices. That seems appropriate as the stories would make good reading for anyone wanting short reads, such as during a hospital stay.
Most of the tales are set in New Zealand – they’re human, lightly humorous, unpretentious slice-of-life stories.
Some, particularly those that relate incidents of country life, read more like anecdotes of the sort that a family and friends might share at social get-togethers.
They are varied. Among the storylines there are some memorable scenarios. Mrs Beeton, long-dead doyenne of domesticity, appears in a contemporary kitchen bent on instructing a present-day woman in culinary skills. (“The tiny buttons on her black boots fascinated me; no doubt she had a lady’s maid; certainly one accomplished in the use of button-hooks, and so well able to delicately loop each into its small hole. I looked at my Crocs.”) A brother and sister argue over where to site a house on their land. The thoughts of an example of living art (“Bring on the philanthropists and the open wallets. They ease my pain.”) An 80-year old woman meets up with an old love. Another of similar vintage falls for a bass baritone. A present-day woman takes Katherine Mansfield to a café in Takapuna.
It’s good to see some locations and characters recur in different stories.
Throughout, the author shows keen observation of both the social world and human behavior. Her colloquial prose is enlivened by metaphors and similes, and is polished so it reads easily.
Five poems are among the 22 items. These too are colloquial and personal, though they differ in tone. Of them, I was particularly taken by Hey! You! that addresses forces present in South Island topography.
This well-produced volume of 154 pages makes a good gift to anyone forced to endure a hospital stay, or who simply appreciates short reads.
Author: Pamella Laird
Publisher: AM Publishing New Zealand
Format: Paperback. Available: North Shore Hospice, Takapuna <firstname.lastname@example.org> Ph (09) 4861688 Note: 50% of the proceeds is donated to the Hospice Funding.
Hibiscus Hospice <email@example.com> Ph (09) 4219180
Also from Pamella Laird firstname.lastname@example.org Ph (09) 4211394