C.K. Stead

The New Zealand novelist Maurice Shadbolt recently published what he described as a ‘memoir’,[1] explaining that this form differed from autobiography in that it claimed only to recount events as the author remembered them, making no promise of accuracy. Since Shadbolt had announced publicly, a year or so before, that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the excuse for inaccuracy and invention was complete. An expectation was aroused which the book didn’t disappoint.

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[1] From the Edge of the Sky: A Memoir (David Ling, 237 pp., NZ$26.60, 25 April 1999, 0 908990 590).

[2] Reviewed here by A.N. Wilson (LRB, 13 May 1999).

[3] V.S. Naipaul: An Introduction to the Work (1972).