The New Zealand Novel 1860-1965
Honest. To return to writers on personal relationships who, to use Bill Pearson's phrase, need an honest audience if they are to write honestly. Ian Cross, in After Anzac Day, 1961, certainly attempts to "explain ourselves to ourselves", and asks us to follow his investigations sympathetically. In a technique which cuts the past constantly into the present, he tries to comprehend the contradictions of both and the effect they have upon the lives of his characters. Four persons create the drama. John Rankin and his wife Margaret; Jennie Page, a part-Maori typist; and Margaret's eccentric, dying father, Creighton. Jennie is pregnant to a boy away on an overseas ship, and has been offered shelter by Rankin out of some obscure sense of guilt related to her colour and to our colonial history. The story is of the deepening currents of misunderstanding among the four, against the background of the Public Service and the waterfront strike of 1951. Not all readers will accept the New Zealand pictured here.