Author(s): Erin MERCER
Description: Telling the Real Story: Genre and New Zealand Literature interrogates the relationships between genre and New Zealand literature. What modes of writing have been deemed more appropriate than others at particular times, and why? Why have some narratives been interpreted as realist when there are significant aspects of them that relate to other genres, such as romance, science fiction and Gothic? What meanings are generated by the meeting points in a text, where one mode meets another? What is at stake in writing, for example, a New Zealand vampire novel or an art world thriller? By rereading canonical texts and exploring writers who have been sidelined because of their use of non-realist genre elements, Telling the Real Story exposes the interplay of realism, Gothic, fantasy, romance and melodrama within New Zealand narratives and demonstrates that the apparently realist monolith of the national literature is infinitely more diverse and exciting than it may seem. Frank Sargeson, Sylvia Ashton-Warner, Keri Hulme, Elizabeth Knox and Eleanor Catton are among the major New Zealand writers whose work is seen in fresh and exciting ways.