Piquant, frank, open wistful, tender, funny … this poetic narrative by Diane Brown is deftly ‘marbled’ throughout with social history. From carefully chosen anecdotes it slowly unfolds a vivid and compelling sense of character and psychological dynamics within a family.
Many readers will recognise the New Zealand so vividly portrayed here, as Brown marshals deeply personal events and childhood memories in a delightfully astute, understated poetic narrative.
Gosh I was hugely impressed and moved by this astonishing poetic achievement by Diane Brown. Essentially a 116 page memoir written entirely in verse Brown tells us of her family life and at the same time paints a thoughtful picture of domestic life in New Zealand post Word War Two. I was so captivated that I read it in one long sitting lasting several hours.And how wonderful that Otago University Press published it in hardcover – a bargain at $29.95. – Graham Beattie
here’s a link to review in the wonderful ODT Jan 30th.
Here is a link to a radio interview with Vanda Symon who has the wonderful ability to make people feel at ease. The second half is Emma Emma Neale talking about her stunning book, Tender Machines.
Here’s what Emma said about the interview. There is a link below to a radio interview with Vanda Symon – the first half is between Vanda and Diane Brown, about Diane’s absorbing, funny-dark, wry-sad new poetic memoir Taking my Mother to the Opera; the second half is about Tender Machines.
It’s such a strange experience saying aloud some of the things that flicker in and out of thought. Lots of stops and starts as the mind tries to remember the dance steps it’s taken so many times on its own…But the radio seems like one of our more tender machines under Vanda’s supervision.
Paula Green pays wonderful good attention on her NZ Poetry Shelf site: http://nzpoetryshelf.com/2015/12/07/poetry-shelf-review-diane-browns-taking-my-mother-to-the-opera-a-rollercoasting-thought-provoking-detail-clinging-self-catapulting-beautiful-read/
Below is a link To Reid’s Reader, a roundup of poetry reviews and a review of Taking My Mother to the Opera. With such a personal book it feels a little uncomfortable to have one’s relationship with one’s parents analysed and discussed especially when you see things differently. Interpretation however, is always up to the reader. I should add I always intended this book to be strongly narrative based, albeit with the economy and comprehension of poetry. But a bouquet to Nicholas Reid for caring about poetry to pay attention.
And from Unity Books Summer Reads
SOMETHING THAT SINGS LIKE AN ARIA Taking My Mother to the Opera — Diane Brown $30, hb, Otago University Press
Diane Brown has brought memoir and poetry together in this new collection. A story of individual and family experience, at the same time presenting vignettes of childhood that will conjure up a collective sense of Kiwi nostalgia. Beautifully put together and beautiful to read, this is a guaranteed compelling read.
Diane Brown is a Dunedin-based poet, novelist, memoirist, and creative writing teacher. Her new book is a personal memoir in verse. It’s about her own life, and that of her parents, told through a series of deeply personal vignettes taking in social history of the 1950s and 60s, old age and dementia, marriage and divorce, the delusions of youth. It’s searingly honest, very moving and very funny. This would not have been an easy book to write. It’s very easy to read, however, but it continues to resonate long after it’s finished.
A Link To Jack Ross’s blogspot: http://jackrossopinions.blogspot.co.nz/2015/11/taking-my-mother-to-opera-2015.html
And this is just a good picture of my book sandwiched between all these wonderful books.
Faves & Raves 2015
This is the pile of books that needs to be beside your bed