Hendrik Groen dislikes the elderly. Unfortunately he lives in a rest-home in the Netherlands which is full of the whinging, complaining and boring people he wants to avoid. To occupy his time, Hendrik writes in a diary which provides a funny and honest account of what it means to reach this point in your life.
Building on research that rehabilitated Neanderthal culture in the popular view, Cameron has created a story around the possible first encounter between a young Neanderthal woman and local homo sapiens. In a parallel story she follows the paleoanthropologist who discovers the female Neanderthal’s remains.
Catherine Chidgey recorded and transcribed a year of her life, and using just those foundwords – from conversations, from the Internet, from TV and movies – wrote The beat of the pendulum. The title comes from a Proust quote, where he described novelists as ‘wildly accelerating the beat of the pendulum’. There is an actual pendulum in Chidgey’s novel, it is of the old style that needs adjusting occasionally for it to keep time accurately, and the year of the novel – 2016 – had to have a second added to make it a full year. Time may be adjusted for accuracy, but it is inexorable.
“Of all my frustrations with the Christian Church, besides its demonising of women, there are two that most confound me: the preoccupation with unquestioning obedience and the notion of original sin.” So says one of Heloise’s early teachers – a Jew who was forced to convert and who along with her daughter had faced the worst that the patriarchal society of 12th Century France could inflict. And Heloise’s exploration of the life and character of Heloise is unflinching in its descriptions of the endless abuse and disempowerment of women.
Miller Hatcher is getting over a relationship and the recent death of her mother, with the help of alcohol, when she gets the opportunity to write a feature story that might land her the job of head reporter for the national magazine she works for, First Look. Sergeant Kahu Parata is a local cop at the small Coromandel town of Castle Bay where Miller will hopefully write her masterpiece. Kahu knows all the locals and turns a blind eye to some of their misdemeanours, and he is annoyed when a team from Auckland are sent to work the case that Miller intends to cover – the discovery of the body of a missing tourist, Bethany Haliwell.