Tuesday, March 02, 2010


March Book: Access Road
Author: Maurice Gee
First Published: 2009

As I am still waiting for the February book from the library I thought I had better be first off the mark for March.

I have to confess I haven’t read a lot of Maurice Gee’s work (I know, he’s a Kiwi author, I must try harder!). But the movie adaptation of his novel ‘ In My Father’s Den’ remains one of my favourite all-time movies.

I enjoyed this latest offering. It’s the story of three elderly siblings as they uncover/reveal their past and, in particular, a dark secret. I liked how the ‘New Zealandness” of this novel is etched clearly. I liked how I could see the places the novel is set. That I knew them to be real. I liked how at first I thought I was reading a tale of a family of quirky old Kiwis but how the quirkiness turned a little more sinister.

While I felt the plot was a bit far-fetched what drew me to the book was the writing. Maurice Gee has a wonderful way with words and I felt I was reading the work of someone who really knows how to write. I read a review recently where someone described him as New Zealand’s greatest writer.

Here’s an example of what I liked.It was just a little scene-setting snip describing how the mother’s life had changed during her transition from a privileged childhood to a harder marriage:

“ I don’t think she regretted what she had lost. It was real; she identified it, and bred small selected pieces into her children’s behaviour – good manners, quiet voices, little observances of precedence and obligation, a ceremony of goodnight when we went to bed: things I remember and practice inside myself even as I leave them neglected in word and deed.”

This year I’ve decided to rate the books. It’s arbitrary! 7/10


Lisa66 said...

Looking forward to reading this one. Still struggling with The Bolter at the moment!

Penny said...

I'm still waiting for The Bolter too, but have read this one. I liked it too - it's set just down the road from me! LOL!

Janine said...

love reading your review. I am in the midst of "The Bolter". I like Maurice Gee's writing but this book didn't do it for me.

While there were bits I enjoyed, I didn't like a few of the characters and felt the story was being drawn out in parts.

I guess I was just impatient as I wanted to know what the big secret/hold that Clyde had over Lionel.

scrapgeek said...

I am still catching up on last years books. Good hear positive things about this one. I read quite a few of his last year. I like his writing a lot and particularly enjoyed Blindsight.

Sandra said...

I really enjoyed the book too. Maurice Gee just keeps getting better with each new book me writes.

Sandra said...

"he writes" Unlike Maurice, I'm not getting better. As least with the typos, haha

Katrina said...

I enjoyed this book too, especially his way of writing. I had never read one of his books before either.

karen said...

hey you've done a book review already! I am so behind ... though I have read the books for December and January because they were the only ones available from the library !!