At the White Coast

by Unknown
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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2012-10-01
  • Publisher: Auckland Univ Pr
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If 'mother won't come to us', New Zealanders must go to mother . . . Here an expat poet finds herself in alien yet strangely familiar territory, a place her ancestors 'got off'. What must she do to survive? Score herself a bedsit, work in a pub, hunt up an office job - and keep an eye out. Set on the cusp of the 1970s-80s, Janet Charman's compelling new book centres on the disorienting experiences of a young woman newly arrived in London - squalid flats, temp work, ancestral visits and trips to the Continent. Charman has a laser-sharp eye for unsettling social cues, her outsider's vision of the city peristently challenged by encounters with an array of its remarkable inhabitants - the distant relatives who stayed at home; her welfare 'clients' and their social workers; and her fellow antipodean travellers. And all contact in the new old land is marked by the claims and memories of that other white coast: Aotearoa. Charman's account of the OE experience reveals a passage hedged with earnest expectation and ripe with the black comedy of disillusion. In gritty lyrics, telling details and biting word play, this multi-voiced narrative sets out a secular pilgrimage - of the many generations of Kiwis to alight at the white coast, this is a shining record from a single traveller.

Author Biography

Janet Charman is a poet and a former literary fellow and writer in residence at the University of Auckland. She has published poems widely in Australasian journals and in anthologies, and is the author of end of the dry, Rapunzel Rapunzel, red letter, Snowing Down South, and Cold Snack, which won the Montana New Zealand Book Award for Poetry.

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