Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Story of a New Zealand River

This novel was written in 1914 and I expected it to be old-fashioned and dull. In fact it's quite a page-turner! Set on Northland's Otamatea River, it describes the journey upriver of an English immigrant to a remote logging settlement; her personal development in this alien setting is chronicled along with the development of the prosperous mill town.

The story has a number of features in common with Jane Campion's The Piano, and there have been allegations that Campion was heavily influenced by Mander's novel, and never acknowledged her debt. To me, there are a lot of differences between The Piano and Story of a New Zealand River...but you can judge for yourself.

I think Story of a New Zealand River may currently be out of print, but it's available from libraries, and you can read it online or download it as an e-book, here.

There's more information on author Jane Mander here.

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