Bird North, by Breton Dukes
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‘Bird North is a striking first collection of stories from a writer who has zeroed in on his subject and delivered an intense, necessary book.’—Damien Wilkins
Breton Dukes stands in the great tradition of New Zealand writers—Frank Sargeson, Maurice Duggan, Owen Marshall—who have looked at men’s lives. The portraits in Dukes’ stories are searingly fresh, always pointing away from clichés about male failure. The characters here are often trying to break free of expectation, and our engagement with them is always heightened by the language Dukes creates. With a bold mix of plain-speaking and lyrical flourish, the writer brings emotional urgency as well as surprising humour to a range of worlds—from remote hot pools to a Johnsonville bottle store—from a predatory act during a cross-country run in Fiordland to a doomed diving trip off Wellington’s south coast.