Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Night Vision



by Martin Edmond
(Auckland University Press 2011)

Another marvellous book from the amazingly prolific Martin Edmond, who seems to have been "in the zone" for years on end, producing book after book after excellent book.

And here's the latest title, which garnered a rave review in The NZ Listener from Justin Paton, who as art curator and critic knows what he is talking about. Says Paton, "it's always a relief to encounter a new book by Martin Edmond." I know exactly how he feels, and I share the difficulty in not knowing how to shelve Edmond's books. They are a mix of non-fictional, poetic and fictional treatments of biography, art criticism, history, autobiography, fantasy and travelogue.

The current one - on the great NZ painter Colin McCahon's fugue in the Sydney Botanical Gardens -  is gentle, full of quiet moments and contemplation, easy walks, clear signposts, and when the dark falls and things are decidedly hairy, we are led on a careful walk through the darkness. It's as if we have night goggles on. Edmond makes a genial self-effacing guide through impossible lost territory. He shows us things that never happened - but he doesn't play tricks on us, or tell barefaced lies - and it's his honesty and his own imaginative wanderings and wonderings that make us feel we understand a little more as we make the Way of the Cross through seedy Sydney.

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