Small-Town Melancholy [Review of Gothic NZ: The Darker Side of Kiwi Culture by Misha Kavka, Jennifer Lawn, Mary Paul]
Hardy, A. (2007). Small-Town Melancholy [Review of Gothic NZ: The Darker Side of Kiwi Culture by Misha Kavka, Jennifer Lawn, Mary Paul]. Journal of New Zealand Literature, 25, 178–181.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14323
This book-an evocation of Gothic elements in New Zealand culture-rapidly announces itself as an impossible project, or at least, as a project dependent on an actively sympathetic disposition in its interpreters. It is, writes one of the editors, Jennifer Lawn, in an introduction at once knowledgeably confident and frustratingly tentative, 'both too early and too late to write of a New Zealand Gothic' (p. 11). There is evidence both for and against a significant body of gothic characteristics in local cultural production, so that whether one discerns relevant characteristics depends on one's angle of vision: 'flick [it] just a fraction [...] and the opposite picture appears: gothic is revealed as endemic to New Zealand's self-representation' (p.ll). Lawn contends that one cannot say what gothic is, in the sense of a proactive entity (p. 15); rather, it 'works in a manner more akin to a shifting warp of the familiar' (p. 15).
This article is published in the Journal of New Zealand Literature. Used with permission.