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All the Rivers – Dorit Rabinyan


35126186.jpgBanned in the author’s home nation of Israel, All the Rivers tells the story of Liat (an Israeli) and Hilmi (a Palestinian) who meet while she is studying in New York.

The story is largely Liat’s and while their romance is passionate and all-consuming, she knows that the relationship has no real chance of surviving when she returns home.

You can read her thoughts on the banning of her novel here 


Yong, the journey of an unworthy son – Janeen Brian

Designed for younger high school readers, this novel is based around the lives of Chinese immigrants who left their homeland to find their yong-195x300.jpgfortunes in Australia during the goldrush.

Yong accompanies his father and other families from their small village in Guangdong, to the goldfields of Ballarat.

The story provides a strong understanding of traditional Chinese family values and in particular, honour.

Very readable.


What was never said – Emma Craigie

What was never said – deals with a practice carried out worldwide but reasonaby  unknown to many teenage NZ readers – female gential mutilation (FMG) – according to the World Health Organisation between 100-400 million women and girls are living with the consequences of FMG. The narrator, Zahra witnesses her sister die from  complications caused by a ‘primitive’ FMG ceremony.

When the family leave Africa and head to the UK, Zahra thinks that she will be safe from the practice carried out in her homeland. She wants to love and trust her parents and extended family – but it is only her ‘modern’ cousin, herself a survivor of FMG, who can save her in the end.

A very sensitive theme, dealt with in an honest and non dramatic way.

You can read more about this issue at Daughters of Eve

White Lies – Witi Ihimaera and Dana Rotberg

ImageHave to say that I found this a fascinating read – for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Witi Ihimaera is well known for ‘updating’ the stories that he wrote as a younger author. White Lies falls into this category. The novella contains the original story Medicine Woman , plus Witi’s rewrite that the film currently playing is based upon.

As well as this the film script is included between the two versions of the story. Added are notes and comments by both the author and the film’s director – creating a fascinating look into the minds of both author and director – including the reasons behind the three alternative endings…..