The Boy Colonists
Despite its critical obscurity, The Boy Colonists is able to significantly inform its audience about the colonial trends of the nineteenth century. The rising travel writing genre and the new colonial lifestyle are presented to us in both content and form throughout Elwell’s intriguing novel. It is interesting to involve Elwell’s obscure biography into an assessment of his story, but ultimately what we are presented with is a pleasurable and detailed settler’s tale. Beyond the considerations of the author’s own connections to the text is an unflinching and richly detailed story of Man in a new land, packed with both the trials and triumphs that such an experience inevitably brings. As Elwell paints his picture of a rugged country, The Boy Colonists becomes not only a travel writing taster, but a poignant depiction of New Zealand as a traveller’s destination: a place where every day becomes an unexpected adventure.