Librarian Recommended Reads – The Antipodeans: a novel by Greg McGee

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“Beginning with the return to Venice of an old and sick man determined to confront his past, and accompanied by his daughter who is escaping hers, The Antipodeans spans three generations of a New Zealand family and their interaction with three families of Northern Italy. From Venice to the South Island of New Zealand, from the assassination of a Gestapo commander in the last days of Italian resistance in WWII to contemporary real estate shenanigans in Auckland, from political assassination in the darkest days of the Red Brigade to the vaulting cosmology of particle physics, The Antipodeans is a novel of epic proportions where families from the opposite ends of the earth discover an inter-generational legacy of love and blood and betrayal.”

This novel was 30 years in the writing and well worth the wait! McGee weaves a few different times and places into the narrative: modern day Venice, Italy in the war years, New Zealand before and after the war and early 1950’s, with inserts from the 1970’s back in Italy. It sounds busy, but believe me, it works together fantastically.

McGee produces a vivid and realistic picture of two Kiwi Prisoners of War on the run in Italy (1943-44) as they become entangles with the partisans and their families. This centrepiece opens out into later generations and descendants and weaves back and forth from modern day back through time until the whole story drops into place.

Huge parts of this novel are based on true events and true people. It’s about laying ghosts to rest, old loves, cowards, and heroes.

I really enjoyed this novel!

Read by Adrienne

You can find The Antipodeans: a novel in our catalogue here

About Greg McGee:

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“Greg McGee has written for theatre, television and film. His first play, Foreskin’s Lament (1980), drew on Rugby culture of the period to comment more broadly on national codes and values. It first toured New Zealand in 1980 and 1981 and happened to coincide with the political and civil upheaval leading up to the 1981 Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand. McGee’s television writing has won several awards, including Best Drama Writer awards for two of his political documentary dramas.” (NZ Book Council)

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About HB Williams Memorial Library Staff

The HB Williams Memorial Library includes five community libraries and supports the multi-cultural community of Gisborne and the East Coast of New Zealand.
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