Friends since childhood, Norman and Lyn grow up as next-door neighbours in Herne Bay at the turn of the twentieth century. When Lyn is sent to manage a central North Island timber mill at the tender age of fourteen, Norman goes to visit him. There he is forced to confront a mysterious adult truth. Later, in their twenties, the two men commit an act so appalling that it rupFriends since childhood, Norman and Lyn grow up as next-door neighbours in Herne Bay at the turn of the twentieth century. When Lyn is sent to manage a central North Island timber mill at the tender age of fourteen, Norman goes to visit him. There he is forced to confront a mysterious adult truth. Later, in their twenties, the two men commit an act so appalling that it ruptures their friendship for many years. In 1972 the elderly Norman meets a young woman in a pub. Burdened by the memory he must at long last assuage, he presses Bronwyn into becoming his unwilling confessor...
|Number of Pages||:||496 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Swimmers' Rope Reviews
There's no doubt about it - Stephanie Johnson crafts an excellent novel. And though I never got to like the main character, Norm, I felt deeply sorry for him with his emotionally distant father, his desire to be part of the big family next door, his hero worship of his best friend Lyn (also part of the next door family), his confusion between the rugged and the cultured, and his own illicit sexuality.Norm was born in 1898, though the earliest we get in this novel is a short scene with Lyn in 1905. With only a few small forays into other years the majority of the story moves from 1972 to 1920 and back again. In 1972, at the beginning of the book, Norman has just received a letter and he feels "There's forgiveness in the air, tolerance, compassion." In 1920 we have a slow build-up to the something that happened that needs forgiveness.I was so caught up in the story that I didn't notice how vivid the descriptions were - and they are! The reader is taken into the different times and different scenes without an excess of description but so that they are very visible. From the houses of the cliff-top to the rooms in the city to the winding road to Piha and its beach and the bush inland, these places stimulate our imagination. I really enjoyed this trip down memory lane and beyond.
From the books back cover:"Norman and Lyn have been friends since their childhoods in early 20th century New Zealand, when they grew up as next-door neighbours. Back in 1912, at the age of fourteen, Lyn is sent into the bush to manage a mill. When Norman visits him he has an experience that shapes the rest of his life."The story carries Norman form a young child in the early 20th century New Zealand all the way through to his 70's leaping to and fro between a child and young adult, to a man past his prime and living with a secret. The narrative of the story changes as it goes between past and present, allowing all the main charters to put their tilt on the story. I feel the bulb for this book does not let you imagine what is install for you once deep in the story line and it wasn't until the last 1/4 that I truly understood the horror that Norman had held with him for so many years. A thoroughly engaging story. I had never read Johnson's work before but will differently seek it out in the future, she has a great voice that I look forward to exploring more.
It's an odd one to put my finger on. I felt at times like I didn't really like it that much, but I also couldn't put it down. I suspect that the reason I felt I didn't like it was mostly that at times I didn't like the main character, his decisions pissed me off, as did occassionally some of the other characters, but I suppose if you're talking about reality this would be it! Characters ranged from really good, to not quite three dimensional. The attitudes towards sexuality (in its less than 'normal' forms) were pretty spot on for the time - therefore got me riled up. Yeah, I'd say worth a read, quite sad for many of the characters and the main story itself was definitely sad