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Maurice Shadbolt Biography

(1932–2004), The New Zealanders, Summer Fires and Winter Country, The Presence of Music

zealand stories summer country

New Zealand novelist and short-story writer, born in Auckland, educated at the University of Auckland. The sequence of stories in The New Zealanders (1959) reflected his closeness to New Zealand society; a further collection, Summer Fires and Winter Country (1963), traced mostly the response of urban dwellers to the imaginative pull of the country, and to tensions rooted in their own pasts. The Presence of Music (1967; three novellas) was followed by the novels This Summer's Dolphin (1969); An Ear of the Dragon (1971), which charted New Zealand life from the perspective of an immigrant writer; Strangers and Journeys (1972), which chronicled society of two generations; and Danger Zone (1975). Here Shadbolt drew upon his own experience of helping to sail a yacht into the French atomic test zone off Mururoa atoll to produce a work of direct relevance to the modern Pacific. By contrast Figures in Light: Selected Stories (1979) was seen by some as rather outmoded in its focus largely on rural settings. Later fiction includes The Lovelock Version (1980) and Among the Cinders (1984). Season of the Jew (1987), one of New Zealand's finest historical novels, Monday's Warriors (1990), and The House of Strife (1993), each examine the New Zealand Wars of 184572, against Maori uprisings, and blend fiction with historical fact. The play Once on Chunuk Bair (1982) used the experiences of one day in the trenches to explore the significance in New Zealand's national memory of the terrible losses at Gallipoli during the First World War campaign in the Dardanelles. One of Ben's: A New Zealand Medley (1993) is an autobiography and family memoir.

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