Maurice Gee Biography
(1931– ), Landfall, The Big Season, A Special Flower, My Father's Den, Games of Choice
New Zealand novelist, born in Whakatane in the North Island, educated at the University of Auckland. Gee's first story was published in Landfall in 1955; his first book, The Big Season (1962), showed his interest in New Zealand small town life which he later developed to great effect. His early fiction includes A Special Flower (1965), My Father's Den (1972), and Games of Choice (1976). In his trilogy, Plumb (1978), Meg (1981), and Sole Survivor (1983), a family study from three perspectives, Gee was able to explore in relentless and absorbing detail the complex interplay of history, politics, and religion in shaping the fortunes of one family's very different members; the final volume takes Gee's saga to the fifth generation. The trilogy remains a major addition to post-war New Zealand fiction; not least of its triumphs is its ability to accommodate sharply individual, if not eccentric, and more broadly international themes and issues. It was followed by the novel Prowlers (1987), a book of similar focus, while Burning Boy (1990) confirms Gee's craftsmanship and natural understatement. In Going West (1992) the narrator's unvarnished account of the life of his dead friend, a noted poet and ne'er-do-well, contrasts with the literary pieties of his biographer's version; the chilling Crime Story (1994) is set at the interface of politics, high finance, and the criminal underworld. Stories in A Glorious Morning Comrade (1974) were republished as Collected Stories (1986). David Hill's critical study Introducing Maurice Gee appeared in 1981.
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