Rotoroa Island in the Hauraki Gulf, tiny and isolated, is home to a Salvation Army facility for alcoholic men. It’s also where three people at very different points in their lives share a fleeting encounter. There is Katherine, known to history as Elsie K. Morton, famous journalist and author; Jim, an alcoholic with a young family; and Lorna, a teenage mother who has turned to religion, looking for a fresh start. As the stories of their lives are revealed, so too are their hopes and vulnerabilities.
Set in the 1950s, as New Zealand society is starting to change under the pressure of new cultural energies, Rotoroa is a compassionate, beautifully unfolding examination of loss and the possibility of renewal. Told with subtlety and intelligence, this novel affirms Amy Head as a remarkable new voice.
‘This daring novel doesn’t shout at you. It makes its moves with such care and concealment that it’s a total surprise to find it has pressed such a weight against your chest. A beguiling and brilliant achievement!’
Amy Head lives in Christchurch. Her first book, the short story collection Tough, was included in the NZ Listener and Metro best books lists for 2013 and was the winner of the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction in 2014.