Nominated for the 2003 International IMPAC Literary Prize
A sparkling new novel from an internationally-celebrated New Zealand writer.
New Zealand 20 years ago, just before the conformity of the Muldoon years gives way to the eruptions of the 1980s. The Minister of Cultural Links and Trade, an old-school farmer and RSA stalwart called Hamish Carew, sets off on a swing around of some of New Zealands Asian friends and neighbours. With him are his wife Molly and two young officials, Freddy Manders and Violet Redpath.
It should be a routine affair. But Molly doesnt like shopping; and Freddy is consumed by bitterness at the wife who left him and the superiors who have sidelined his career; and Violet finds herself unexpectedly ready for romance . . .
The Swing Around is Barbara Andersons funniest novel to date, and is also imbued with her profound wisdom about the way people connect with each other.
Praise for The Swing Around
While this is a lighthearted, funny and at times improbably farcical story, there is a serious thread running through it. Found in all of Andersons novels, it draws upon the infinite variations of courtly, friendly and passionate love between people.
Penelope Bieder NZ HERALD
...it fizzes and crackles with Andersons comic vision - savage and compassionate by turns - which makes it a pleasure to read.
Margot Schwass EVENING POST
...Andersons cleverness is a withering combination of acute, mischievous observation of human frailties (especially those of self-deception and self-preservation), expressed with a precision rarely seen in the English novel since Austin. ...This book is a delight.
Jane Stafford NZ LISTENER
The Swing Around is a clever twirl through a series of political events and personal relationships; it is funny, warm and wry, with some acute observation. Anderson brings wisdom as well as wit to her work.
Denise Irvine WAIKATO TIMES