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Excursions into fantasy from a focus on local identity

September 8, 2015

Discussing the demand for (and rejection of) local identity in local literature, Margaret Mahy once considered local ‘excursions into fantasy’ and wrote that “The release implicit in the confident assumption of [New Zealand] identity [in our published literature] has led some New Zealand writers to expand into fantasy.” (p.217) I find the chronology implicit in this quite an interesting claim, and probably one worth thinking about, but I also like how she then situates Vicky Jones’s Karazan Quartet in this discussion, writing:

The first book in Vicky Jones’s Karazan Quartet, The Serpents of Arakesh, constitutes a gripping story, unconcerned with any self-conscious search for New Zealand identity. The hero, symbolically named Adam Equinox, is that icon of folktale and story, an abandoned orphan, at odds with the unpleasant matron of Highgate Orphanage and with the world in general. He wins a competition and the chance to enter, along with a group of equally successful prize winners, a computer-generated alternate universe.” (p.217)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine; italics in original) Margaret Mahy ‘Looking Inward, Exploring Outward’ The Horn Book Magazine March/April 2004 pp.213-218

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From → Jones V.M.

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