Rich Man Road
by Ann Glamuzina
The Author of this new New Zealand novel bases half the story contained in Rich Man Road on the experiences of relatives who came to this country as refugees from Dalmatia in the 1940s. Olga’s story is told in journal form, addressed to the person at the centre of the second strand, a much younger woman.
Pualele is also an immigrant, but from Samoa, sent here to get a good education but, we find, also to act as a sort of replacement for a dead namesake.
Two women – different ages and backgrounds, but with the common factor of displacement from what is familiar, separated from those left behind.
Their stories are alternated, chapter by chapter. Since the chapters are not long, this jolts the reader between the changes from one to another. It would be more satisfying if the sections were longer and the shifts fewer.
The device of journal narration when directed at a specific addressee, can impose problems of consistency and, more so, the revealing of facts in a natural-sounding way. This is the case in parts of Rich Man Road where some pieces of exposition stand out as a little clumsy. For this reason, the chapters relating to Pualele are more convincing.
Because of the parallel stories one knows there must be a coming together, and the reader anticipates the nature of the convergence. Personally, I would have liked this to be explored much more fully than it is. The eventual revealing of the link, explained by way of the journal, seems somewhat remote when the relationship cries out for a more intimate exploration.
That said, the characters are well drawn, the Auckland setting well described, with the title reference particularly good, and the volume itself is an attractive publication.
Overall, this book is a memorable novel worth reading.
Author: Ann Glamuzina
Publisher: Eunoia Publishing