A taste of gothic NZ

October 12, 2006

Gothic NZ: The Darker Side of Kiwi Culture, edited by Misha Kavka, Jennifer Lawn and Mary Paul (Otago University Press, RRP $39.95):

When thinking about gothic, most people imagine intense black-clad teenagers, pale and interesting with smudged mascara and a never-ending supply of depressing music.

However, there’s more to gothic that that. New Zealand’s culture is swimming in gothic-ness.

Co-author Jennifer Lawn suggests that gothic is a “shifting warp of the familiar”. It shows up in many forms: autobiographies, architecture, poetry, novels, photography, television, tattoos and more.

This book takes it all in, wandering from Martin Edmond’s abandoned houses to Saskia Leeks’ ghost paintings, Peter Jackson movies and traffic safety billboards.

While the gothic ideal has its origins in another time and place, New Zealand’s gothic culture has developed its own special flavour.

This book shows us just how varied the menu is.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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