It was her story to which I was drawn first.
A journalist in Wellington at just 16, she gave birth to two illegitimate sons the first stillborn, the second fostered , after which she suffered a breakdown. In her lifetime, it was published in England, to which she finally travelled in , but never in New Zealand. She was desperate for it to be a success; she needed money to send home for the care of her son. She was just 33 years old. It serves as a stark reminder that growing up as a female in the mid-twentieth century was oftentimes harsh. A lovely autobiographical novel about growing up in Wellington, New Zealand, in the early years of the 20th century.
The language is beautifully poetical, and there are some wonderful descriptions of New Zealand and Australia, although I found in the end it gets hard to take so much lyrical prose in a full length novel. It's not a cheerful story as it turns into a catalogue of missed opportunities and lost hopes, but since it mirrors the author's own devastatingly unhappy life, that's unavoidabl A lovely autobiographical novel about growing up in Wellington, New Zealand, in the early years of the 20th century.
It's not a cheerful story as it turns into a catalogue of missed opportunities and lost hopes, but since it mirrors the author's own devastatingly unhappy life, that's unavoidable. It's also a good reminder of how the s were very like the s in many ways--we tend to forget the many forms of liberation that happened in that earlier decade. Much like Katherine Mansfield in style and voice.
The Godwits Fly
Starts well but loses its way about the mid-point. Had to stop in the end.
I just could not make myself soldier on any longer. May 21, Inken rated it really liked it. Part stream-of-consciousness, part autobiographical, this is an intriguing novel written by New Zealand author Robin Hyde born Iris Dickinson. Beginning just after the start of the 20th century and running through to the s, The Godwits Fly is the story of the Hannay family: mother Augusta, father John and the four children Carly, Eliza, Sandra and Kitchit. A godwit is a bird that migrates annually from Winter in Siberia to the southern hemisphere and back again when Summer begins.
Their presence permeates the story as their flight is constantly referenced and they become an analogy for the desperate desire to escape that each Hannay feels. Augusta is an embittered woman, made hard by disappointment. For Augusta family and respectability are all-important, an attitude that ultimately dooms her eldest daughter, Carly, into a life of suffocating conformity. John Hannay is an ardent socialist who fantasizes about becoming a hero to the Union and yet never quite has the courage to leave the wife and children he no longer loves and the job he despises.
Eliza the character based on Hyde's own life has a couple of ill-fated love affairs, followed by a nervous breakdown, but ultimately manages to escape the confines of her family by becoming a writer. Eliza is intelligent and pragmatic but so desperately wants to love and be loved. She is independent and passionate, but living at a time of stifling conventionality. Eliza loves her family but also sees clearly the damage they have done to each other over the years.
And we fight, instead of trying to save one another. Her metaphors are extraordinary. This novel was not a one-off. I recommend you make the effort. Dec 24, Ali rated it really liked it. The prose is glorious, poetic and continually a delight to read. Perhaps I just expected a little too much, it is still a very good novel. Dec 01, Kate rated it liked it.
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- The Godwits Fly (New Zealand fiction series).
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- Sad, sweet song of a migratory bird | Books | The Guardian?
- The Godwits Fly.
I read this book because it is set in New Zealand and I was born and lived there for the first 2 years of my life. I really enjoyed the first chapters particularly as they take place in Wellington where I was born. However I did find it rather wordy and too descriptive. It is based on the author's childhood so perhaps that's why it lacks an actual story often being disjointed and confusing. Characters appeared from nowhere with no introduction.
However I enjoyed enough of it much of it was absor I read this book because it is set in New Zealand and I was born and lived there for the first 2 years of my life.
However I enjoyed enough of it much of it was absorbing that I don't regret reading it though confess to a certain relief on finishing it. At times poetic and insightful - though overall feels more like a series of oddly frenetic vignettes rather than a satisfying novel. Dec 03, Linda Foster rated it it was amazing. A superb telling of life in Wellington nz early 2oth century. Amazing use of language in this almost autobiography. Dec 27, Katie rated it liked it. Good, but a bit too abstract in parts. Oct 11, Hannah added it. I loved this book. Beautifully written and really paints a picture of Wellington in the early 's.
It made my heart ache with longing for NewZealand.
Aug 21, Rachel added it Shelves: did-not-finish. This was a book club book. Lovely writing but it's pretty autobiographical which reads too much like a memoir for me. I'd rather just read a biography of Robin Hyde who was a very interesting woman and writer.
So much unhappy beauty: Robin Hyde’s The Godwits Fly
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