All the time on the island there had been something she was looking for. She knew she had to keep this in mind, and that she’d know what it was when she found it. Whatever it proved to be.
It’s 1956 and Iola arrives on the island of Ibiza, on the fringes of Franco’s Spain, with little more than a Spanish phrasebook. Soon she meets a fascinating American photographer who falls in and out of focus: is he really a photographer, and who exactly is the German doctor he keeps asking her about? The mysterious doctor, when he appears, takes Iola for a picnic on a salt island, where she learns how easily the world can be obscured.
Salt Picnic is about mistranslation, fantasy and the historical echoes of ideology, by the author of Gifted and The Back of His Head.
Patrick Evans is the author of five novels and a number of plays. His other books include The Penguin History of New Zealand Literature (1990), The Long Forgetting: Postcolonial Literary Culture in New Zealand (2007), An Inward Sun: The Novels of Janet Frame (1971) and Janet Frame (1977). He taught New Zealand literature and creative writing at the University of Canterbury until 2016.