The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 11 (February 1, 1936)
Among the Books — Literary Page or Two
A much discussed literary personality in New Zealand at the moment is Gloria Rawlinson. Gloria is only fifteen. She was born in an island in the Tonga group and came to New Zealand at the age of six. Although illness laid severe hands on her in the years that followed, her soul soared above her physical troubles and blossomed gloriously. These fruits of a mind of spiritual sweetness, quaint girlhood imaginings and reflections of sometimes amazing maturity, have been gathered into a book published in London by Hutchinsons. The glory is Gloria's and the joy of her melodies is already the joy of thousands of readers of her poems. There is no complex orchestration to Gloria's melodies. They are all simple harmonies—the strange, simple sweetness of a girl soprano singing from a window on a summer morn. I have read these verses to my children and as I marvelled in their beauty I revelled also in the fact that the telling appeared to give as much joy to my wee listeners.
About the time that the London collection reached me I received from the Unicorn Press in Auckland another book of Gloria's, in size a fragrant echo of the more imposing London collection. I value it more, though, because it was signed by Gloria and the printer producer, Ronald Hollaway. I have referred before to Holloway's art as a printer. There are only a dozen pages in this book, but the wedding of artistic typography with Gloria's verses make it a precious little addition to my library.
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A much discussed book recently published by Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd., is “The Gael Fares Forth,” by N. R. MacKenzie, one of our foremost educationists. Many stories have been related of the Scottish-Nova Scotian settlement of Waipu, North Auckland. For years the descendants of this historical migration to New Zealand have cherished hopes of having the story set forth in book form. The authorship was eventually entrusted to Mr. MacKenzie who has certainly set before us an amazing amount of historical detail. Many willing workers assisted him in his task. The complete story is based on original manuscripts, contemporary newspaper reports and personal experiences of original migrants still living. The result is a book of great historical interest. Pressure of space forbids an adequate review, but I can unhesitatingly commend the volume to all those interested in this chapter of our Island history. The book, which is illustrated, is selling well.
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“ The Vesper Service Murders,” by Van Wyck Mason (Eldon Press, London; Whitcombe & Tombs, N.Z. agents), is an exciting story of American gang warfare with the customary accompaniment of murder and intrigue. Here we meet once more that fascinating international detective, Captain Hugh North. He has plenty to do in this novel, for three murders occur in its early pages. The Eldon people are building up a big reputation with their detective thrillers and this book should increase their number of followers.
“ The Professor's Last Experiment,” by Harry Edmonds (Rich & Cowan, London; Whitcombe & Tombs, N.Z. agents), will interest even the most blase overworked reviewer. A professor who has discovered the secret of suspending wave lengths by a manipulation of radio activity and who claims and proves that he can abolish wars; an Australian millionaire; a naval commander; two fascinating women, and a wonderful yacht—these are the principal human ingredients in a story as eerie and as fascinating as one could imagine.
“Secret Servant,” by Bernard Newman (Victor Gollancy, London; Whitcombe & Tombs, N.Z. agents), is an amazing spy story. The publishers declare with almost undue emphasis that “there is not a word of truth” in this book—” that it is fiction from the first page to the last.,” Plainly, without stating anything to the contrary, the shrewd purpose of Newman is to fill his book with such a wealth of suggestion (by the introduction into his yarn of historical personages, places and happenings) as to convey to his reader the thought that the amazing story narrated has in it seventy-five per cent. of fact. The reader is left wondering.
“ Chivalry,” by Rafael Sabatini (Hutchinson, London; Whitcombe & Tombs, N.Z. agents) is a new historical novel by this popular writer. Admirers of Sabatini, and they may be numbered in their thousands, will not be disappointed in this colourful exciting romance. The story deals with love, hate, and adventure in the picturesque atmosphere of the Italy of the fifteenth century. “Chivalry”—the title in association with the author's name suggests the whole appealing atmosphere of the story.
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(Owing to pressure of space several literary notes and reviews have been held over.—Ed.).