Thursday, 8 March 2018

Review ~ All Day At The Movies ~ Fiona Kidman

Aadvark Bureau
8 March 2018

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

All Day at the Movies is published today in the UK to mark International Women's Day

What's it all about ..

When war widow Irene Sandle goes to work in New Zealand’s tobacco fields in 1952, she hopes to start a new, independent life for herself and her daughter – but the tragic repercussions of her decision will resonate long after Irene has gone.

Each of Irene’s children carries the events of their childhood throughout their lives, played out against a backdrop of great change – new opportunities emerge for women, but social problems continue to hold many back. Headstrong Belinda becomes a successful filmmaker, but struggles to deal with her own family drama as her younger siblings are haunted by the past.

A sweeping saga covering half a century, this is a powerful exploration of family ties and heartbreaks, and of learning to live with the past.

My thoughts about it...

All Day at the Movies is a story of many parts which has a foothold in the past whilst also taking the story forwards into the future. Starting in 1952 with a sad and rather uncomfortable story about Irene Sandle and her daughter Jessie. Trying to build a new life as a post-war widow is not easy for Irene and in order to find work and a safe place to live she and her daughter must travel to Motueka to eke out an existence picking tobacco. The consequences of Irene's actions at this time will reverberate throughout the next half century.

I was completely mesmerised by this story and enjoyed the way the author interlinked everything, sometimes in tenuous ways, and quite often in directions I didn't see coming. Intelligently written and acutely observed it looks at way that families, often against their better judgement, are linked together and not always in a good and meaningful way.

This is one of those quietly confident stories which, in a no nonsense kind of way, gets on with the business at hand. Beautiful written by an author who has a unique and often succinct way of telling the story, it neither glorifies nor condemns the actions of those who have been damaged by the circumstances of their lives.

All Day at the Movies, whilst not exclusively about women, gives us an understanding of the difficulties that women face in circumstances often not of their own choosing.

Fiona Kidman is a leading contemporary novelist, short story writer and poet. Much of her fiction is focused on how outsiders navigate their way in narrowly conformist society. She has published a large and exciting range of fiction and poetry, and has worked as a librarian, producer and critic. Kidman has won numerous awards, and she has been the recipient of fellowships, grants and other significant honours, as well as being a consistent advocate for New Zealand writers and literature. She is the President of Honour for the New Zealand Book Council, and has been awarded an OBE and a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to literature.

Amazon UK

Gallic Books @BelgraviaB

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