Monday, September 7, 2009
The other night I got to enjoy a very convivial evening to celebrate the launch of Joanna Orwin's novel Collision. The splendid University Book Shop played host for the evening, holding a lively and large crowd of guests, friends and colleagues. Joanna is the 2009 Otago University College of Education Children's Writer in Residence, so it was special for us to have her celebrate the launch here rather than in her home town of Christchurch.
Collision is based on the true events that befell a French expedition to New Zealand in 1772. We have had plenty of books about the relationships between Maori and British explorers, so it is fascinating to read a story about encounters between Maori and the French.
I am half way through reading Collision and am enjoying it immensely. I love how the author ties the viewpoints of each side, through a young French ensign, Andre Tallec and his Maori counterpart Te Kape, so the reader can see the trail of misunderstandings that inevitably lead to disaster. Also she tells it in a way that is fair to both parties, not siding with one or the other, so the reader can see and feel anxious about what must unfold.
I also have a fondness for nautical tales, so this book is hitting the spot on many levels.