16 July 2013

Rangitaiki: Bob Lindsey - Reading Recommendation

A deft weaving of New Zealand history, Rangitaiki follows the fortunes and failures of three generations of the Raditch family. A rich personal tapestry, set on the beautiful back drop of the Rangitikei River evoking many memories, and is an addictively poignant storytelling.

Wetting the baby (novels) head - cheers Bob!
 
I was honoured to be asked to pre-read Rangitaiki by Bob Lindsey, an Englishman who lived in New Zealand 's Rangitaiki Plains for a few years before returning to his homeland with this novel under his belt, and a few more bubbling to the surface.

Rangi… Chief / tai… Tide / ki…. broad or wide
Hence: "a great river like a full tide"
 
The story covers some really interesting periods in New Zealand history, and explores the emotions and situations that families living there must have experienced. The Raditch family are an incredible bunch of characters, from Stefen Raditch the founding member of the family, fresh from the battle fields of World War One, Victoria his wife a mischievous but always loving matriarch to their children and through to the surviving generations finding their way through the late 1970s.

"The swaying fronds of punga hemmed in the view, but far away, the deep untroubled blue of the Pacific Ocean shimmered and sparkled and the clear outline of a mysterious hump backed island could be seen." 
 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, not only for the evocative landscape of my home, but simply for the rich experiences the family go through. As with most families, their world centres around births, deaths and marriages, but most importantly the relationships that can only really develop with people you have known since you were in diapers.

"The kiwi was built to be outside - on the farm - in the forest - at the lakes - at the beach - simple."

The most important Kiwi issues were explored: farming, rugby, religion, cooking, the home, teaching. I also felt the use of Victoria's love for the English Royal family to be a really clever time counterpoint to the family, and very true of most of my own family who are royalty mad.

  
I sincerely recommend you read this; it's an involved and at times 620+ page grittily real read, but I found myself being unable to put it down. Bob has also decided to go down the self-publishing route, and I admire his passion & tenacity (a very Kiwi, No.8 wire approach).

You can buy the paperback or e-book on lulu.com and Amazon Kindle (with a Nook version shortly to follow). You can also find out more about the book, New Zealand and the author on www.rangitaiki.org.

Does reading novels set in your hometown/country make you misty-eyed?

Ps. All the Kiwis' reading this, make sure you check this out...

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