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Elizabeth Heritage

How Language and Storytelling Shape Reality in Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka

We must begin this arotake pukapuka (book review) by talking about reo (language)—which means we need to talk about history and power. As a reader of this blog, you are most likely not a New Zealander, and are probably primarily familiar with our country through The Lord of the Rings films. It’s a start: you have at least seen some of our extraordinary landscapes. But long before they were used to tell that foreign tale this land has been layered with Indigenous stories that stretch centuries into the past and are continuing into the present and future.

A recent high point in such storytelling is the new pakimaero (novel) Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka, who comes from Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa tribes.

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Turns Out the Much-Maligned Mysteries of Udolpho Is Good, Actually!

How on earth are we meant to read these days? As the pandemic goes on and on and on, I find myself choosing really long books because I want to put off finishing reading for as long as possible. I am terrified of the period in between books; of staring blankly at a collection of the most books there have ever been in human history and failing to feel that special pull of ‘I want to read you!’ to any of them. How can I be a person if I cannot connect with narrative. It’s paralysing.

One day while scrolling in quiet desperation for a tempting audiobook I see there are some new radio-play adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels. I am listening to Northanger Abbey when I realise that I’ve never read the book-within-a-book that Austen is parodying the whole way through: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe. The eBook is available for free on Project Gutenberg and to my relief I see that it’s more than a thousand pages long: I can stave off my what-to-read-next existential panic for ages! Oh thank god.

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The Watch Made a Mess of Adapting Pratchett — But It Had Some Interesting Ideas

Let me start by saying that I will not be arguing that The Watch—BBC Studios’ TV adaptation of some of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels—is Good, Actually. It isn’t good: it’s a hot mess. But in amongst the janky chaos are some really interesting ideas that I want to honour before this whole thing sinks without a trace.

[Note: The following essay contains spoilers for S1 of The Watch]

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