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Cold Hub Press ~ Roderick Finlayson

Publication delayed until September 2020

A Roderick Finlayson Reader

edited with an introduction by Roger Hickin

ISBN: 978-0-473-51417-4

Softcover, 272 pp, 210 x 148mm


When I was a child

I learnt the sound of grief.

When long ago I was a child

old women clothed in black

crouched on the parched veranda boards

keening by the old iron bed where the young man lay

encircled by pictured kin.

The old men raised shrill voices

and their black and carven sticks

above heads bowed beneath the burden.

    And the toes of children

    dug into the dust

    under the burning sun

    and in the resin-scented pinetree

    cicadas burst their prison cells and sang and sang.

When long ago I was a child

I knew that most ancient lullaby

the sound of grief.

© The estate of Roderick Finlayson

Roderick Finlayson (1904–1992) was one of the pioneering New Zealand

writers who came to prominence in the 1930s. This selection of his fiction

and non-fiction––some of it unpublished, much of it previously uncollected––includes stories from his four short story collections,

two chapters from the novel Tidal Creek, excerpts from an unpublished

novel, the 1940 essay Our Life in this Land, autobiography, memoir,

articles, letters and poems.

‘If the honours and rewards now available for New Zealand writers included canonization, Roderick Finlayson would be the obvious candidate, probably

the only one.’ ––Dennis McEldowney

‘. . . our first writer to move with any ease or authenticity among the

most vital traditions this country has.’ ––Vincent O’Sullivan

‘. . . an artist whose commitment to the recognition and celebration

of taha Maori was exemplary and prophetic.’ ––O. E. Middleton

‘. . . it was he who wrote of Maori and Pakeha and the importance

of conserving the land, fifty years before there was a bandwagon

for protesters to jump on.’ ––Kay Holloway

‘I cross my heart when I say there are stories of yours, there are pages,

which I would rather have written than anything I have written.’

––Frank Sargeson in a letter to Roderick Finlayson