Bridget van der Zijpp


ISBN: 9780864735751

Named a Finalist in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2009 Best First Book Award

Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Best First Book Prize, South East Asia and the Pacific region.

Burn it, she decided. Drive it behind the disused factory near the polluted creek at the industrial park, and set it alight.

Simone’s obsession with her former lover is dangerously out of control, so when the approach of her fortieth birthday brings on a compulsion to wreak havoc in his new life, a house-sitting opportunity at a remote beach provides a welcome escape.

She began to be seduced by the idea of a lovely, distant solitude. And actually she had good incentive to leave.

With only the responsibility of somebody else’s perpetually cheerful dog, Simone values her isolation – but her elderly neighbours have other ideas and begin to pull her into their eccentric lives.

Is it possible she’s got away with it, or will the things she’s done come back to haunt her?

Misconduct is a moving novel about the possibility of reinvention, the sweet and sour taste of revenge, and a woman’s search for friendship and love.

Please click here for a PDF of book club discussion notes for Misconduct

Praise for Misconduct

Misconduct’s darker edges move the narrative beyond a Helen Fielding-like examination of women’s lot in a post feminist world into more meaningful psychological portraits of its characters, not least the rural New Zealand community that is the novel’s greatest strength.

If Bridget J has an older wild-child Aotearoa cousin, Simone is it. Saying this in no way disparages van der Zijpp. Her eye is sharper than Fielding’s, her writing edgier, her sensibility welcomingly wry rather than witty; which all makes Misconduct a commendable first novel, one able to reach out to both the career-girl looking for an entertaining read and her more scholarly sister in search of something more profound.

Bridget van der Zijpp is a new name in local fiction, but if this novel is anything to go by, we'll be hearing a lot more about her. Misconduct is intelligent, contemporary women's fiction, wonderfully assured and quietly compelling.
Margie Thomson NEXT

Misconduct, a first novel, is a simple and modest work, but not a simplistic one: its subtleties grow on you. Its single viewpoint allows for ironies and wit without earnestness, and an alert and amused attention to human foible and idiosyncrasy.
Elizabeth Caffin NZ BOOKS

I heard Bridget give a reading from her novel ... and laughed out loud so much that I had to get my hands on a copy.
Kerry Tankard SALIENT

Could easily be called "Revenge". Man breaks up relationship and Simone the woman, becomes obsessed with him. Seeing him park his car and tuck the keys under the mat she steals it and burns it and the temptation of the bunch of keys proves to be even more dangerous. Funny in a dark way and just on the edge of totally believable. Would make a good movie.

The set-up of Misconduct could be the making of a dream chick-lit book – a likeable heroine, the moody but charismatic boyfriend who left her for the neighbour, followed by our heroine going to extremes and burning said ex’s car, among other things. This could be a decent 100-page, emotionally shallow, drama-driven paperback complete with a sugary pink cover. However, in the entirely capable hands of Bridget van der Zijpp, such material gets entirely different treatment.

Rather than fleshing out the above drama over the whole book, van der Zijpp sets her Misconduct after the initial drama of protagonist Simone losing her boyfriend, in the aftermath so to speak. At this point Simone is recovering from losing the boyfriend, job, driver’s licence and hefty blows to her self-esteem that come with it all. The book is set up nicely when a friend gives her the offer to housesit for an ailing relative in hospital, leaving Simone in a haphazard, craft- and doll-filled house near the sea. Throughout the book, she gets to know the locals, the beach and, hopefully, herself.
Jennifer Van Beynen THE LUMIERE READER

Bridget van der Zijpp (pronounced ‘z-eye-p’ and rhymes with type) was born in Ruawai, Northland. After a career in commercial radio in Auckland, she moved to Wellington and began writing fiction.

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