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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 10 May 28 1968

Triboldies reviewed

page 9

Triboldies reviewed

New Zealand literature can be of two sorts. It can have an obvious relation to life in New Zealand. Janet Frame's Owls Do Cry is of this sort

Or it can have no obvious relation to any reality. Denis List's Return of the Triboldies is of the latter sort.

This latter sort is particularly possible in New Zealand because New Zealanders are so used to reading literature which has no relation to anything within our experience that we almost think it is the most natural sort of literature.

Of course, such non-realistic literature does have some relation to New Zealand conditions. It does, I believe, reflect an important part of our cultural experience, in particular our attitude to existence.

In older societies, the individual is so insulated by cultural conventions and values that he is hardly ever brought face to face with ultimate existence.

New Zealauders, however, have a society that is so new and threadbare that almost all New Zealanders are exposed to the chill winds of the ultimate.

It is this special New Zealand experience of the ultimate that Dennis List is giving expression to in his Return of the Triboldies.

The Return of the Triboldies opens with Ocarina dreaming of the homeland of his people. It is not difficult to see that this is "Home". England, Europe. But List knows that for New Zealanders "Home" is the grave and nothing else.

Clearly, The Return will be an account of the Tribodies' arch for "Home".

Dennis List has a number of qualities which make him suitable for this work. He has an excellent prose style. He can present character. He has a talent for whimsy that can sustain his narrative.

List is not trying to describe the New Zealand situation in realistic terms. He depicts the New Zealand situation through a fantasy.

The Triboldies have a society in which poets, philosophers, and magicians have an important place. If this reflects the New Zealand situation, these characters must be seen ironically. In fact, List sees them almost in a Swiftian light. But List's touch is lighter, kinder.

Pat Evison in "The Killing of Sister George". We apologise to both actresses for printing the wrong photograph last week.

Pat Evison in "The Killing of Sister George". We apologise to both actresses for printing the wrong photograph last week.

—Niel Wright.