‘Christel is at shattering point’ the back-cover blurb says of Kirsten Warner’s The Sound of Breaking Glass. Shattering.
But I’m still feeling shattered. And I’m already three days out from finishing the novel.
There’s a lot going on in this book.
In the big picture New Zealand prospered in the 1960s. Materialism boomed, the economy flourished, brand-new houses dotted the suburbs and pop music and miniskirts and thumbing noses at conventions, gave spice to the day.
But on the edge of the lupins and the sand hills east of Christchurch, Cheryl Nicol’s childhood memory of 60s life, was one of make-do. In her memoir, A Parallel Universe, as the title suggests, a different world existed. Life was hard. The picture, is grim.
I never imagined I’d sit with my mother as she died. Or view her a few days later.
But then I never imagined we would be right there in our kitchen with our vet, Brendan, as he gave Bill his last injection. The ‘we’, included Suzy, Bill’s canine litter-mate of thirteen years.
When this wacky titled book, turned up – some new age novel I thought.
Not so. This is a true story about the jihadist takeover of the real Timbuktu and the remarkable story of one man’s finding, collecting and then saving hundreds of thousands of priceless manuscripts in Timbuktu.
Did I want to read a book about Christchurch?
I’d seen the destruction of the earthquakes, later vast expanses of nothingness and recently, steps of reconstruction. I’d watched John Campbell cover stories on television about it and each Saturday for the last five years I’d read all about it in The Press. (Maybe, thought I knew it.)
Once upon a time in Paradise, hotels and resorts sprung up like flowers in spring. The rulers of Paradise and international hotel chains smiled, “Paradise will be the new destination for our tourists.”
And so it was. Tourists flew in and experienced the pleasures of Paradise. But along the way, the wind changed direction and nearly twenty years later decayed and abandoned resorts dot the isles of Paradise.