Author(s): Helen McNeil
In 1986 in a central North Island town of New Zealand, the changing labour laws are pressing on the unionized workers of the local mill and their families. The unions believe they are in for another round of strikes, but the mill owners and operators are convinced this time they have a mandate to crush the unions once and for all. Ray, a recent English school graduate, has arrived in this one-industry town to work the mill's new computer system, He is intent on blending into the corporate management but falls in love with a local girl with family working - or not working - at the mill. Ima and Notta, two sisters with secrets, question their loyalties to one another, the town and their beliefs. Families fall apart and others begin, as old flames rekindle and secrets emerge.
A Striking Truth is a chronicle of the birth of New Zealand's experimentation with neoliberalism by its effect on one community. It examines how relationships grow and falter in the wake of societal change: not always for the worse and not always predictably. In a battle that is both political and very human, only one thing is certain - no one will survive unchanged.
Twenty five years as a psychologist has given Helen McNeil's writing both insight and compassion. She writes about ordinary people dealing with the deep question she struggles with herself: Where is home? What does family mean? Are my beliefs worth the pain? Who am I? Helen grew up in Kawerau where the pulp and paper mill dominated the life of the town and union struggles were always present. She has continued her interest in the power of the collective and currently lives in Earthsong Eco-neighbourhood (Auckland, New Zealand) alongside chickens, organic gardens, lots of compost and constant negotiation.