C.K. Stead

In the Forties, a New Zealand schoolboy writing my first poems and fictions, I didn’t know there were any living New Zealand writers. My literary excitements came mostly from British but also from American writers, past and present. I was not of a generation that looked to England as ‘Home’. ‘Colonial’ was a word I would have resented. But my (and I mean our) situation, which seemed to me perfectly ordinary, seems unordinary enough, when looked back upon, to need a descriptive term. ‘Post-colonial’, perhaps – but in what degree ‘post’? I belonged to one of what I think V.S. Naipaul has called the client cultures.

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[*] Oxford, 767 pp., £30, 26 September, 0 19 558211 X