The New Zealand Novel 1860-1965
Dessert. A refreshing lightweight story is Robin Muir's Word for Word, 1960, which makes a piquant final titbit for this series of discussions, since it deals with the trials of a New Zealand printing and publishing house.
Though one hesitates to assert that all our publishers behave like these, the book provides an amusing version of the popular image of the literary world. We are shown the breathless haste of production, the unpredictable vagaries of public preference, and the personal eccentricities of our local Grub Street. Word for Word runs on a current of witty, heartless, shallow dialogue, with a probable debt to Evelyn Waugh, and will certainly amuse. Particularly welcome is its deflating refusal to mount on any rhetorical high horses.