The Settler’s Plot: How Stories Take Place in New Zealand
Europeans arrive on a beach, make markets and push inland. They take the land and transform it. They make themselves at home; they dream of other places. And the stories they write take shape in settings – the beach, the farm, the bush, the suburb – that become imaginary versions of actual places. Those settings sometimes host stories that are too simple – too flattering, too blaming – but in the work of our best writers, a richer history of settlement comes into focus.
Taking a new approach to the cultural history of this country, The Settler’s Plot is a study of the relationship between literature and place in New Zealand. Through fascinating and unpredictable readings of some of our greatest literature, from Maning and Guthrie-Smith to Mansfield, Sargeson, Curnow and Frame, Calder investigates the often contradictory meanings that Pakeha have found in our most familiar settings.
More about Alex Calder
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. . . fizzes with original ideas . . . – Lawrence Jones, Otago Daily Times
Calder allows ambiguity and complexity to breathe. It is a mark of The Settler's Plot that it acknowledges the shifting boundaries and allegiances, the partial views, that cultural interactions produce. – Vaughan Yarwood, NZ Geographic
. . . a delightful new book by Alex Calder which re-examines the relationship between Pakeha literature and the environment.' – James Beattie, ENNZ