If I began asking you questions about Wellington ways there would be no end to it … Katherine Mansfield
I came home to Wellington, to a place half remembered, half real, half fantasy, half fact, remembered and a dream … Kirsty Gunn
In this exquisitely written ‘notebook’, Kirsty Gunn explores the meaning of home. Returning to the city of her birth after an absence of thirty years, Gunn’s exploration quickly takes on new forms, developing into a ‘Katherine Mansfield Project’.
Zig-zagging across Thorndon streets, Wellington hills and New Zealand childhoods, Gunn’s project charts a terrain of emotional attachment and the source of potent imaginative forces. A wonderfully connective work from the winner of the 2013 New Zealand Post Book of the Year.
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BWB Texts are short books on big subjects by great New Zealand writers. Commissioned as short digital-first works, BWB Texts unlock diverse stories, insights and analysis from the best of our past, present and future New Zealand writing.
Table of contents
One: My Katherine Mansfield Project - An Introduction, Context and Thoughts about Home
Two: The Voyage - Setting Out, Rough Seas and a Story, Essay and a Letter from Thorndon
Three: The Doll’s House - Settling In, Arranging Papers, Writing and Reading and Creating Fiction
Four: Sun and Moon - Light and Dark, Winter and Summer and Living in Two Places at Once
Listen to Kirsty talking with Kim Hill, 'Kirsty Gunn: Thorndon and "home"', Saturday Morning, Radio NZ National, 11 October 2014
Read this interview with Kirsty, 'Talking with Kirsty Gunn', NZ Herald, 2 October 2014
‘A beautiful thought and mood provoking book … the writing went into my consciousness and I felt the loneliness, the sadness, the love and identification with Katherine Mansfield ... It was beautiful.’ Jane Campion
‘Kirsty’s book really grabbed me … her writing has a lot of the rhythms of Mansfield … it’s very readable, and anyone who’s a writer will enjoy what Kirsty sets up … beautiful writing.’ Mary McCullum, Radio NZ
'I began reading Thorndon this morning and could not put it down until I had finished. I think it is beautiful.’ John Carey
'Gunn gives her readers much to think about, not only concerning new perspectives regarding Katherine Mansfield, but by eloquently putting into words why fiction is important, why stories don't have to be full of ''structure and pacing and overall shape''.' Patricia Thwaites, Otago Daily Times
'Gunn has produced a simple yet effective book in Thorndon. She tells her own story, which could have been a rather dull subject, in a real and relatable way.' Kimaya McIntosh, Booksellers New Zealand
'When I finish it, the book seems bigger than the 119 pages I held when it first arrived. The reading has expanded it.' Pip Adam, Scoop Review of Books
'Returning to the capital after 30 years away, Gunn found that "home" was now two places - "here and there the same place after all". It's an interesting read.' Jillian Allison-Aitken, Southland Times