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  • Published: 1 March 2013
  • ISBN: 9781775531166
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

The Best of Shonagh Koea's Short Stories



Blackly humorous yet poignant and multi-levelled, finely crafted and thoroughly entertaining, this short-story collection is from a unique writer with a rare and distinctive talent.

Blackly humorous yet poignant and multi-levelled, finely crafted and thoroughly entertaining, this short-story collection is from a unique writer with a rare and distinctive talent.

'Reading Shonagh Koea's stories . . . is like sampling a box of good, rich chocolates. Read (or eat) too many at once and there's a risk of sensual overload; restrict yourself to one or two, and you miss the pleasure of indulgence, and the subtle distinction of each offering.'

So a reviewer in New Zealand Books summed up what another called Shonagh Koea's 'always stylish and scrupulously crafted' writing. Her short stories have been widely admired for their dexterity with language, startingly original imagery, a fine sense of irony that slices through any pretence and a wicked, black humour.

Shonagh Koea's first short stories were published in such magazines as the Listener and Metro, and in 1981 she won the Air New Zealand Short Story Competition. Two collections followed: The Woman Who Never Went Home and Other Stories and Fifteen Rubies by Candlelight. While she is best known as a novelist, her short stories have a wide following, as the Nelson Evening Mail commented: 'Shonagh Koea is as addictive as nicotine or coffee - with, perhaps, major withdrawal symptoms.'

  • Published: 1 March 2013
  • ISBN: 9781775531166
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

About the author

Shonagh Koea

Shonagh Koea has published short stories, novels and memoir. North & South commented that‘Shonagh Koea has a command of prose, an originality of expression, a sophisticated wit and a richness of imagery, which makes her writing a delight.’She won the Air New Zealand Short Story Award (1981), her novel Sing to Me, Dreamer was a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards (1995), and The Lonely Margins of the Sea was runner-up for the Deutz Medal for Fiction (1999). She has held the University of Auckland Fellowship in Literature (1993) and the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship (1997).

Koea’s territory is ‘the contrast between domestic misery and various forms of withdrawal or escape’ (The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature), and she has been described ‘as addictive as nicotine or coffee — with, perhaps, major withdrawal symptoms’ (Nelson Evening Mail).

Poet Alistair Paterson said of Staying Home and Being Rotten, ‘This is not merely a good book, but a work of brilliance. It establishes Shonagh Koea as a leading New Zealand novelist and a writer of international significance.’The Kindness of Strangers: Kitchen Memoirs is a collection of Koea’s memories from her various roles as daughter, wife, mother, journalist and novelist, and as such serves as a social history of New Zealand of the past 50 years. Reviewing it in The New Zealand Listener, Graeme Lay called it ‘a truly delectable read’. The New Zealand Herald wrote: ‘the ingredients in Shonagh Koea’s writing — among them a delicate yet incisive wit, keen perception, irony, and an abundance of sensuous imagery — are good enough to stand alone. Still, the 25 plain and tasty very mid-century New Zealand recipes are skilfully interwoven with the episodic memories they give rise to, and slowly build up a fascinating portrait.'

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