Sunday, 22 August 2021

Book Review: In My Father's Den by Maurice Gee

In My Father's DenIn My Father's Den by Maurice Gee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I read this for my in person book group. I'd never come across the book or the author before the group picked it as one of its New Zealand reads. In the end it proved a difficult book to get hold off, with only me being able to source a reasonably priced second hand one, this resulted in us altering our choice s. Sch a shame. This is a gem of a book. Very well written, well crafted, full characters, good plot. It opens with a Prologue of newspapers coverage of the brutal murder of a 17yr old school girl Celia Inverarity.Then we are into a first person narrative by Paul Emerson, her English teacher and mentor who finds himself a suspect. Celia's death propels Paul back into an examination of his past, his childhood with his parents and two brothers, the death of one and the mother, the strain between his father and his mother's atitudes to life, faith, his father's escape to his shed, his den and his own life, how he became an English teacher. It is a shortish book of 174 pages through which the writing flows beautifully. I read it over two late night sittings, thoroughly engrossed in Paul's memories and the lovely storytelling style of its writer Maurice Gee. Highly recommended.

Maurice Gee is one of New Zealand's most distinguished and prolific authors. He has written more than 30 novels for adults and children, has won numerous awards, including multiple New Zealand Book Awards.

In My Father's Den has been made into a movie starring Matthew MacFadyen

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