In a Fishbone Church
'I hope you believe this Swan Story as it is rather fantastic. Gene & I arrived at the Greenpark Paddock at 7 a.m. ... It was good to be alive on a morning like this & having my son with me. Once again the dark shapes of the Swans could be seen against the mountains. Closer, closer, 100yds 80yds 60yds 40yds hell let loose range zero. Bang-Swan Bang-Swan Bang bang-Swans more Swans our stockpile grew high...' When Clifford Stilton dies, his son Gene crams his carefully kept dairies into a hall cupboard - but Clifford's words have too much life in them to be ignored, and start to permeate his family's world. Clifford taught Gene about how to find rocks and fossils, and about how to kill birds and fish. Gene passes on a similar inheritance to his daughters, Bridget and Christina - they have their own ways of digging and discovering the past, keeping an account of life, watching out for the varieties of death that lie hidden. Etta their mother tells a very different story of her 1940s childhood. In A Fishbone Church spans continents and decades. From the Berlin rave scene to the Canterbury duck season, from the rural 1950s to the cosmopolitan present, these five vivid lives cohere in a deeply affecting and exhilarating novel.
Winner of the Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing at Victoria University, 1997 Runner-up for the Deutz Medal for Fiction Winner of the Hubert Church Award for best first book, 1998 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.