Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Massey author’s The Naturalist tops bestseller list

Massey author’s The Naturalist tops bestseller list

Massey University author Dr Thom Conroy’s novel The Naturalist is the current bestseller in New Zealand fiction.

Dr Conroy’s novel is a historical tale based on a true story set in 19th century New Zealand, Germany and London. Its central character is German naturalist, botanist and explorer Dr Ernst Dieffenbach, who championed equality between races, was fluent in Mäori and was known for his rebellious stand as a young student supporter of democracy in Germany.

On topping the Neilsen Weekly Bestseller list at one notch above Man Booker prize-winner The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, Dr Conroy says it’s been “satisfying and deeply humbling to know so many people are interested”.

The Naturalist, published earlier this month by Random House New Zealand under its Vintage label, is the result of six years’ research and writing. One of Dr Conroy’s main sources was Dieffenbach’s two-volume Travels in New Zealand, an account of his 18-month exploration of New Zealand’s land, people, following his voyage from London aboard the Tory.

The creative writing senior lecturer in the School of English and Media Studies at the Manawatü campus says he was struck by what he read about Dieffenbach while researching natural history for another project. He felt the German deserved more attention in light of his colourful personality and experiences
at the onset of New Zealand’s colonisation.

Among the milestones of Dieffenbach’s time in pre-settler New Zealand were; being the first European to reach the summit of Mt Egmont (Taranaki), and writing the first Māori dictionary and grammar.

Since launching in early August, the book has been well-reviewed and had wide media coverage, including an interview with National Radio’s Kim Hill.

American-born Pennsylvanian Dr Conroy, who has lived in New Zealand for nine years, drew on extensive historical records and research, inventing some scenes and additional minor characters to bring the German’s remarkable personality ad story to life. He hopes hisf ictional rendition of Dieffenbach’s story will have wide appeal – especially to those

intrigued by influential yet marginalised historical figures who provide fresh clues to the tangents and nuances of New Zealand’s colonial history.

Listen to Dr Thom Conroy’s interview with Kim Hill here.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Ray Columbus: NZ Music Icon Passes Away

60s New Zealand music Icon Ray Columbus has passed away peacefully at his home north of Auckland... Ray Columbus enjoyed more than three decades at the top of NZ entertainment as a singer, songwriter, bandleader, music manager and TV star. More>>

Review: Bernard Herrmann's Scores For 'Vertigo' & 'Psycho'

Howard Davis: The NZSO's adventurousness was richly-rewarded, as the deeply appreciative Wellington audience was given the opportunity not only to see a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, but also to hear fine renditions of two of Bernard Herrmann's most accomplished film scores. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Leonard Cohen

If Bob Dylan owned the 1960s, Leonard Cohen was an inescapable presence during the early 1970s period, pre-disco and pre-punk. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Pick And Camera

Through the eyes of a miner – the photography of Joseph Divis: The occupations of miner and photographer are seldom combined. The conjunction must have been very rare indeed in the era before hand-held cameras, high-speed film and flashlights More>>


Howard Davis: Review - The Cosmic Dance Of 'String Theory'

Fly My Pretties sixth album is quite possibly their best yet - a concept album in the best sense, with superb arrangements, funky grooves, and some great vocalizing, all organized around the lyrical leitmotif of string theory. More>>

Non-Natural History: Dinosaur Eggs 'Discovered' At Auckland Gardens

Auckland Botanic Gardens plant curators have unearthed what are thought to be prehistoric dinosaur eggs in the Gondwana Forest section of the expansive garden in Manurewa... In fact, the “dinosaur eggs” are part of an innovative, larger-than-life dinosaur performance and display featuring a raptor, a crested therapod and a towering Tyrannosaurus Rex. More>>

For The Birds: Kōkako Crowned Bird Of The Year

The Kōkako has been crowned New Zealand's Bird of the Year after two weeks of close competition and heated campaigning. More>>

ALSO:

  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Culture
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news