The Gorse Blooms Pale: Dan Davin's Southland Stories

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Dan Davin, Janet Wilson
Otago University Press, 2007 - Literary Collections - 312 pages
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Dan Davin - a Rhodes scholar, and for many years and one of New Zealand's acknowledged masters of the short story - was born in Invercargill, New Zealand in 1914. The Gorse Blooms Pale gathers together twenty-six stories and a selection of poems reflecting his experiences while growing up in an Irish-New Zealand farming family in early twentieth-century Southland. Comic, haunting, compelling, poetic, lyrical, and entertaining, these stories have a regional flavor quite unlike any other body of work in New Zealand literature. They insightfully capture the character of an idiosyncratic rural community - its post-British social relationships and tribulations - with a flair equal to such other New Zealand writers as Sargeson, Frame, Middleton, or Marshall. The Gorse Blooms Pale is a rare treasure in the landscape of twentieth-century New Zealand literature.

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About the author (2007)

Dan Davin (1913-1990) was a scholar, soldier, writer and publisher. Born in New Zealand, he came to England as a Rhodes Scholar. In the Second World War he fought with the New Zealand expeditionary force, writing as a result the highly regarded Crete volume in the Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War. Much of his post-war life was devoted to the Oxford University Press where he ended up as deputy secretary and academic publisher. It has been nicely said of him that he had 'an uncommon gift for enjoying his own aversions - parties, dining out, travel, committees, formal social occasions, other people's problems. No man who longed so much for the quiet of his own fireside has been so often out.' In this busy life he still managed to write seven novels as well as collections of short stories. The best of his Second World War stories were gathered in The Salamander and The Fire, which along with Closing Times, is being reissued in Faber Finds.

Janet Wilson decided at age 29, after her boys were off to school, that she wanted to become a professional artist. After a few years of hard work she graduated and was rewarded with an offer from Scholastic to illustrate a book. And the rest, as they say, is history. With a host of books to her credit, Janet is recognized for her realistic paintings which capture the feelings and mood of the characters and situations in the stories she is illustrating.

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